Posted by Nicci | Recipes

pudding parfait

See Recipe Below

At this time of year there are two types of people. Those that see the world through pumpkin flavored goggles and those that do not like or understand the fascination with everything pumpkin. I tend to reside more in the first camp. I live my season’s through my senses. For me each season has a scent, sight or even sound and fall is my favorite one of them all.

For most of my life I lived in Maryland where when school started that meant the weather was already starting to cool down from the summer, the leaves would begin to change color by mid-September and the air was layered with scents that signaled it was fall. By November most of the leaves would be off of the trees and the air would begin to get colder and colder as if just waiting for Santa from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to herald in Christmas season.

I thought I would loose that feeling when I moved south to Tennessee but the truth has been surprisingly refreshing. There is a point in mid to late August that while I am swimming I feel the water is just a little cooler, the air is a little crisper and there is a scent on the air that is very much related to fall. The wonderful thing about living down here is that fall really does last all the way up to the time I start decorating for Christmas.

By the end of August I am itching to do my fall cleaning and decorating. I patiently wait for the first day of September so my family doesn’t give me too much grief. But once that first day or week hits all bets are off. My house turns into a fun filled fall festival of decorations and smells from candles to baking.

Over the years I have amassed a list of foods I love to eat at this time of year from chicken-n-dumplings to apples with caramel dip. Some of the foods I get when I am at certain fall festivals while others my family can’t wait for me to make.

Five months after my father passed away in 2011, my mom and I drove from Tennessee up to where my father was interred at our family plot in Pennsylvania. We decided to make the trip in October because fall was his favorite time of year and we wanted to celebrate his life. On the way we made stops at places that we thought he would love to stop at including one of his favorite gas stations, Sheetz. Up in Pennsylvania there are Sheetz gas stations everywhere which ended up being lots of fun. That year we found out that not only did we like their tuna salad sandwiches as well as the turkey and cheese on pretzel rolls but that Sheetz had this awesome seasonal pudding parfait that was pumpkin pie flavored. The bottom layer was spiced pumpkin and the top layer was vanilla pudding. It even came with ginger snap crumbles that you could dump in if you chose to, which we did. Everything about this dessert was screamed fall and was just perfect.

Because I live in the south I don’t always make it to a location with a Sheetz each fall so if I want this yummy fall concoction I have to make it myself. It is a pretty simple and easy dessert to make. This year is just a little more complicated because I have not yet added food items with gluten in them back into my diet. I won’t let that little complication take away from my most favorite time of the year. Below is just one gluten free version of this very yummy treat.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Pudding Parfait

Pudding Layer Ingredients

5 ounce box of Vanilla Pudding

¼ teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 cups of milk

½ cup of pumpkin pie spice coffee creamer


Gluten Free Ginger Snaps or Snickerdoodles (for bottom and topping of parfait)

Dump the vanilla pudding dry mix into a bowl. Add each of the spices and pix the dry ingredients together. Use more or less of each spice to your taste. Add 2 cups of cold milk and ½ cup of the pumpkin pie spice coffee creamer. I used lactaid and lactose free coffee creamer (international delight) because I have lactose intolerance. Mix the pudding for approximately 2 minutes or until all of the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed in. The pudding will begin to set as you mix it. Refrigerate for a minimum of five minutes before assembling the parfaits.


Pumpkin Pie Layer (optional) Ingredients

½ a can of pumpkin (approx. 7.5 ounces)

¼ teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ a container of cool whip (approx. 4 ounces)


Place the pumpkin, whipped topping and spices into a mixing bow. Mix on low with a hand beater for 1 to 2 minutes until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Once pudding is set, crumble some of the cookie in the bottom of dessert bowl or parfait cup. Add two to three table spoons of the pumpkin pie mixture*. Add ½ cup of the pudding mixture. Add more cookie crumbles on top. Enjoy!

* The pumpkin pie mixture is optional. My family enjoys just cookie crumble layers and pudding.

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