Honey-Pear Icebox Trifle with Soft-and-Easy Gingersnaps — The Weekender

This Thanksgiving, skip the pie and make Honey-Pear Trifle with Homemade Gingersnaps. It can be made many hours ahead and makes for a nice change from traditional desserts.
By: Marisa McClellan
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When it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I come from a family of traditionalists. Pies are required, and they typically come in both pumpkin and apple (though when the gluten-free gather with us, I’ll often make an apple crisp with GF oats instead).

As I was plotting out my contributions to the two Thanksgiving meals I’m attending this year, however, I started to ponder options beyond the classic. Part of the reason I feel so free to monkey with the tried and true is that I’m attending two collaborative dinners (really, that’s just a fancy term for a potluck). I know others will bring the requisite pies, and so I am free to explore a little.

For my husband’s family, I’m taking vanilla pound cake with runny raspberry jam for topping. We’re traveling several hours for that meal and I know those cakes will survive even the most-arduous journey over the river, through the woods and up the New Jersey Turnpike. I made the jam with fresh fruit this summer, but a similar batch could easily be made by combining 2 pounds of frozen berries, 2 cups of sugar and a little lemon juice, then simmering until thick .

My family gathers on the Saturday after the official holiday and the drive there is all of 20 minutes. For that dinner I’ve chosen to bring a trifle. And not just any trifle, but Nancy Fuller’s Honey-Pear Icebox Trifle with Soft-and-Easy Gingersnaps. What’s so nice about this dessert is that the hardest part is making the gingersnaps, which is to say that it’s hardly any work at all.

Once the cookies are done (and they are delicious on their own, so take care not to succumb to their charms), you drizzle them with the honey pear shrub and layer them together with the sweetened cream.

You’ve read this far and may now be wondering what on earth I mean with the word “shrub.” Shrubs are a combination of vinegar, fruit and sweetener that has been left to steep. Once the fruit gives up its flavor to the vinegar, simply strain out the solids. You can buy them from specialty grocery stores, or you can make your own from 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup honey and 1/2 cup finely shredded pear. Any extra can be drizzled into soda water for a refreshing sip.

If you’re still uncertain about your sweet course for next Thursday, well, that’s really where the Weekender comes in. Make a small batch of the trifle to test it out. I’m fairly certainly you’ll be swayed by its charms.

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