Pumpkin Caramel Trifles

This is basically pumpkin bread, caramel, vanilla pudding, whip cream and pecans in individual servings. I try to assemble them in little jars or these tiny martini glasses so that you get 2 or 3 bites; after a big Thanksgiving meal, no one wants to be overwhelmed with too much dessert. They are so yummy- absolute comfort food. Make the proportions how you like them; I happen to love a lot of pudding so I go heavy on that. It’s anything goes….

1 recipe pumpkin bread, cut into 1″ cubes- as many cubes as you need; I do this as I go
1 recipe vanilla pudding
1 recipe caramel sauce (comes from The Pie and Pastry Bible)
whip cream
chopped toasted pecans

Vanilla Pudding:
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 T cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 t vanilla
1 T unsalted butter, room temp.

In a bowl using a whisk, combine the yolks and the cornstarch. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk, pinch of salt and sugar. Cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula until little bubbles form around the edges and the milk is almost to a boil. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding some of the hot milk to the bowl with the yolks, whisking like a maniac all the while. Add the yolk/milk mixture back to the remaining milk in the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until thickened (this takes about 1 minute). Remove from heat and add the vanilla and butter. Transfer to a pan and cover with  wax paper directly set on the pudding. Refrigerate until cold.

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar

1 T Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1 t vanilla

In a heavy-duty saucepan, combine the sugar, water and Lyle’s syrup. Stir over medium high heat with a heatproof spatula until sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup boil undisturbed, swirling the pan on occasion until it is the color of a penny (a new penny, not a crusty old dark brown penny). This takes approximately 8 minutes or so but don’t hold me to that number exactly. In the recipe it says to use a candy thermometer until the temp. registers 380ยบ but this seems like extra work and equipment to deal with. It is easy enough to eyeball it. Just a word of warning though, the caramel can go from penny colored to burned in the blink of an eye so watch it carefully. After it is the right color, remove from heat and add the cream, stirring with a wooden spoon. It will bubble up ferociously; keep stirring until the bubbling subsides. Sometimes I put it back over low heat if I can feel some hard spots on the bottom of the pan. Add the vanilla and butter and stir well. Immediately pour the sauce into a glass measuring cup to avoid having the caramel crystallize. You can store it in glass jars and reheat before using.

For the Trifles:
Put a good dollop of pudding in the bottom of the glass or jar; add 4 or 5 cubes of pumpkin bread and another dollop of pudding over that. You can assemble these to this point the night before. Before serving, warm the caramel sauce and pour some over the top. Add whip cream, pecans and a bit more caramel sauce. If you feel inclined, you can add a few flakes of sea salt as well.

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