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Chef Ryan Scott shares his recipe for a gingerbread eggnog trifle—plus ideas for packing it up into a DIY gift basket.
"I love the versatility of this recipe since it's assembled by the receiver, not by me! I can't wait to see pictures of all my friends' and family's versions of this delicious dessert to see how they all interpret it. Any way you put it together, it's amazing!"
Pro Tip: Use store-bought gingerbread cookies and/or gingerbread loaf (or banana bread or panettone) if you're short on time.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
For the eggnog, in a small pot, bring the eggnog to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cornstarch, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Once the eggnog is simmering, pour about ⅓ into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then whisk the warmed egg mixture into the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the custard comes to a full boil; it should be thick and shiny. Strain the cooked eggnog custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or container, then press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until smooth, then set aside until ready to assemble the trifle or transfer the eggnog custard to a decorated jar or container for your gift basket.
For the simple syrup, bring the ¼ cup water, the granulated sugar and vanilla to a boil. If desired, stir in a few tablespoons of whiskey or rum. Let cool to room temperature.
To assemble the trifle, cut the gingerbread loaf into 1-inch cubes. Arrange in an even layer at the bottom of a glass trifle dish. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons simple syrup over the gingerbread cubes. Dollop half of the eggnog custard over the gingerbread, and smooth it out with a spatula. Press a few gingerbread men up against the glass, standing them in the custard. Scoop half of the whipped cream on top of the custard, and smooth it out. Add a second even layer of gingerbread cubes, and top with more syrup. Add the remaining custard and smooth it out, and top with the last of the whipped cream. Use a spatula to shape the whipped cream into a dome and wipe the edge of the bowl clean. Crumble any remaining gingerbread cubes and sprinkle on top of the whipped cream.