This is the ultimate comfort food: applesauce, gingerbread and whipped cream!

Makes about 10 to 12 servings


Gingerbread

 2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

8 tablespoons (1 stick) soft, unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

2/3 cup unsulphured molasses

2/3 cup milk

 

Applesauce

3 pounds McIntosh apples

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

 

Whipped Cream

2 cups cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups toasted pecan pieces, for finishing

 

One 8-x-8-x-2-inch pan, buttered and the bottom lined with a square of parchment or wax paper

One 2- to 3-quart trifle or other crystal or glass bowl

  1. For the gingerbread, preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the middle level. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a mixing bowl and stir well to mix. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, by hand or by machine on medium speed. Beat in egg, and continue beating until smooth. Stir molasses and milk together and add to butter mixture with dry ingredients. Fold batter together with a rubber spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake gingerbread about 35 to 45 minutes, until well risen and firm in the center. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then unmold to a rack to cool completely.
  2. For the applesauce, peel and core the apples and cut coarsely. Place in a pan with a cover with the sugar and water and cook, covered, for 5 minutes, until the apples begin to disintegrate. Uncover and cook until slightly thickened, stirring often. Cool and puree in food processor, or leave chunky if you wish.
  3. For the whipped cream, combine all ingredients and whip by machine until the cream forms a very soft peak.
  4. To assemble, cut the gingerbread into thin vertical slices and layer in a bowl alternating with applesauce, whipped cream and toasted pecans. End with whipped cream and pecans. Chill until serving time and serve with a large spoon.