Pumpkin Spice Trifle

Pumpkin Spice Trifle with Baileys - www.madelinelu.com

There is something about a trifle that just feels special. Its layers, textures, and colors... It looks fancy and beautiful, tastes delicious, and yet is so easy to make. It is the perfect festival dessert for dinner parties and family gatherings. Therefore, the second recipe I created, in collaboration with Bailey for the launch of their new autumn flavor "Pumpkin Spice", is the Pumpkin Spice Trifle.

This recipe is the traditional naughty adult-version of the trifle, which contains with a twist of pumpkin custard made with creamy Bailey's Pumpkin SpiceI found the mixed flavors of gingerbread, pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, all spice, and vanilla from the Pumpkin Spice really intensify the pumpkin custard, therefore, make the trifle super delicious. For base, I suggested a vanilla sponge cake, which can be made from scratch. But if you have a large crowd to feed and are under immense time pressure, I am all for making life easier by using a good quality ready-bought sponge or pound cake.

So, how about we forget about pumpkin pies this year, and make a pumpkin spice trifle for the Thanksgiving feast? 

Pumpkin Spice Trifle With Bailey's - www.madelinelu.com

*Please note that this recipe contains alcohol, therefore it is not suitable for for young adults and kids. 

Vanilla Sponge Cake:

What you'll need:

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for the Cake Pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

How it's done:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking paper over a 9x13 inch Cake Pan.

  2. Using a hand mixer or in a Stand mixer on high speed, beat six eggs for about 2 mins and gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat the mixture for 6-8 mins until it is thick and fluffy.

  3. Add vanilla extract and baking powder into the mixture and mix it again for a 1-2 second.

  4. Use a spatula to fold in the flour, one third a time. When each batch is incorporated, add the next one. Be careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the Cake Pan and bake for about 25-30 mins until the top is golden brown.

  5. Remove the cake from the cake pan and the baking paper. Let it cool on the wire rack until it is in room temperature and then cut into 2 inches squares. 

Pumpkin Custard

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • 2 tablespoons Bailey's Pumpkin Spice
  • 2 cups of mascarpone cheese

How it's made:

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until a thick and smooth yellow mixture is formed. Add pumpkin or butternut squash puree, 2 tbsp Bailey's Pumpkin Spice and mascarpone until everything is thoroughly mixed. And then set aside.

Pumpkin Spice Trifle

What you'll need:

  • 1 vanilla spong cake
  • 3 cup of pumpkin custard
  • 3 cup of whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoon caramel sauce
  • 2 tablespoon roughly chopped pecan nuts

How it's made:

  • Scatter sponge cake squares evenly over bottom of the trifle bowl. Then pour over 1/4 cup of Bailey's Pumpkin Spice. Let it soak for five mins. Then spead the pumpkin custard over the sponge cake squares, followed by another layer of sponge cake. Then evenly spread out the whipped cream. Finally sprinkle some chopped pecans and drizzle some caramel sauce. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Trifle with Baileys - www.madelinelu.com

Alpine-Style Cheese Paninis

Panini Party - www.madelinelu.com

For all the cheese lovers in the US, you will get a chance to taste some amazing Alpine-style cheese at Whole Food Market on 13th Sep from 6-7:30 pm (nationwide). In collaboration with Whole Food Market, Breville, and Sur La Table, I am showing you some delicious panini recipes, which are made with these Alpine style cheese that you will find on the Cheese Night.

Having lived in Switzerland for five years, I have seen, learned and eaten quite a bit of cheese. I have witnessed how the cows lived and produced their milk. Pictures below were some of our travel photos from Switzerland, last year. They were taken on the mountain (over 3000 m/9800 feet) that was one hour drive away from the famous cheese town Gruyeres. They pretty much represent the living conditions of most milkcows in Switzerland. These Swiss cows live mostly on the mountains, not in the cowshed. They walk and sleep in the wild all day long , drink water that is either collected from the rain or natural spring, and only eat wild herbs, flowers and grass.  In some areas, the cows  do go to the farms, but only to get massaged and cleaned by the “Cow Wash” (no kidding! You can google it to see more.) I do believe it is this kind of lifestyle help them to produce the best milk, which then turned into these fantastic, high quality cheese, which are now sold at Whole Foods' cheese section. 

Swiss Mountain

Since most of these Alpine-style cheese melt really well, they are perfect for making Fondues and Paninis. Thanks to the suggestions and tips for cheese and panini from Leah McFadden, a certified cheese specialist from Whole Foods, I have five delicious Panini combinations with five kinds of cheese: Kaltbach Le Gruyere, Emmentaler, Le Marchel, Pavino and Kalthbach Alpine Extra, to share with you.

WFM Cheese Night - www.madelinelu.com


Mushroom, Kale & Pavino Panini

  • Two slices Ciabatta bread
  • Garlic sautéed mushroom and green/purple kale leaves
  • Slices of Pavino
Mushroom, Kale and Pavino Panini - www.madelinelu.com

Mixed Berry & Emmentaler Panini

  • Two slices of Challah bread 
  • Meshed blackberry and raspberry
  • A tbsp honey (optional)
  • Slices of Emmentaler
Mixed Berry & Emmentaler Panini

Fig & Alpine Extra Panini

  • Two slices of Brioche toasts
  • 2 tbsp Fig jam (spread over the toasts)
  • Slices of fresh figs
  • Slices of Kalthbach Alpine Extra
Fig & Alpine Extra Panini - www.madelinelu.com


Grilled Veggies & Le Marchel Panini

  • Two slices of wholewheat walnut bread
  • Grilled yellow squash and mixed colored peppers
  • Rucola leaves
  • Slices of Le Marchel
Grilled Veggies & Le Marchel Panini - www.madelinelu.com


Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Le Gruyere Panini

  • Two slices of wholewheat Levain bread
  • Meshed avocado as spread
  • Slices of heirloom tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Slices of Le Gruyere
Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Le Gruyere Panini

It is hard to pick which one was my favorite, as I like them all. But if I have to choose, I will pick the Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Le Gruyere Panini. On Cheese Night (13th September), there will be certified cheese specialists at all WFM stores to help you choose the right cheese and make recipe suggestions. So you can make your own variation. Don't miss out! 

Panini Party - www.madelinelu.com

Gingerbread Pavlova with Butternut Squash Curd

Gingerbread Pavlova with Butternut Squash Curd - www.madelinelu.com

Yup, summer is almost over and autumn is approaching. While some feel sad about it, I am, quite the opposite, actually really looking forward to it. Well, to start with, two of our favorite autumn festivals are coming up, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Can't wait to start carving the pumpkins with the family and preparing Thanksgiving gathering with friends. Secondly, autumn is way more beautiful than summer. Just imagine, gorgeous fall foliage with red, orange, brown and green all harmoniously mixed together. And last, but not least, we can enjoy all the tasty fall treats again, which brings to the point of this blog post. I teamed up with Baileys to create this recipe to welcome the start of Autumn with their new seasonal Pumpkin Spice flavor. 

As soon as I opened the bottle, I was drawn into its delicious smell, which reminded me of gingerbread, pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, all spice, and vanilla. The best way to describe its taste would be sweet, spicy, creamy and pumpkiny. 

In today's recipe, I added the Pumpkin Spice into the butternut squash curd. Not only did it compliment the squash flavor perfectly, but also give the pavlova an extra lift. Therefore, the overall flavor was more interesting and sophisticated. The alcohol was burned off during curd making. So everyone in the family can enjoy this delicious dish. If you are looking for something different than traditional pumpkin pie as dessert for Thanksgiving, I think this gingerbread pavlova with butternut squash curd would be just the one! The "Pumpkin Spice" is only a limited edition, so grab it fast before it is gone. 

Gingerbread Meringue Base

What you'll need:

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

How it's made:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Add balsamic vinegar and corn flour and beat a few more seconds.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ground ginger and then gently fold everything until the the spices are thoroughly mixed in.
  4. Mound on to a baking sheet in three circles approximately 7 inches in diameter each, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300ºF and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready they should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top. Turn off the oven and open the door, and let the gingerbread meringue discs cool completely.

Butternut Squash Curd

What you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup butternut squash (see instruction below)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Bailey's Pumpkin Spice

How it's made:

  1. To make fresh butternut squash puree: cut the butternut squash in half. Peel and remove the seeds (seeds can be roasted and they are delicious!). Cut the butternut squash into small cubes. Steam the cubes over simmering water for about 20 mins until the squash are soft.  Remove from the heat and let it cool a bit. Then puree the squash cubes in a high-speed blender into smoothy mixture. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of water if necessary.  Set the puree aside.
  2. Beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat in a heavy-based pan, and when melted stir in the sugar-egg mixture, Bailey's pumpkin spice and the butternut squash puree, and keep cooking gently, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly, then pour into a jar. Keep in the fridge.


Butternut Squash Pavlova

Additional ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped and light roasted
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce
  1. Put the first meringue disc on the cake stand. Then gently spread the butternut squash curd on top with a spatula.
  2. Repeat the step 1 two times until all three meringue discs are layered with butternut squash curd. 
  3. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and drizzle the caramel sauce over. Serve immediately or store in the fridge 2-3 hours before serving. 
Gingerbread Pavlova with Butternut Squash Curd - www.madelinelu.com
Gingerbread Pavlova with Butternut Squash Curd - www.madelinelu.com
Gingerbread Pavlova with Butternut Squash Curd - www.madelinelu.com

* Note: So far, I only used Bailey's Pumpkin Spice during cooking. If you prefer to add it to your drinks, please consume responsibly.