Tag Archives: trifle

Holiday Desserts: Cranberry Orange Trifle with Candied Walnuts

Here is a festive trifle that will carry you through the holidays – it’s a great do ahead party dessert with show-stopping results. Buttermilk poundcake is blanketed with layers of cranberry compote, orange infused mascarpone cream, and candied walnuts. Each bite is light and airy with the pop of sweet-tart cranberries and the crunch of cinnamon dusted nuts, so be sure to get a little bit of everything in each spoonful. The best part is this dessert can be assembled a day in advance, which leaves you plenty of time to take care of that turkey.

Cranberry Orange Trifle with Candied Walnuts

While there are several components to this trifle, each one may be prepared in advance, and each one is stand alone good, so feel free to use them on their own. Serve in a trifle bowl or individual goblets. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

For the buttermilk pound cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Beat the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add half of the flour, then the buttermilk, then the remaining flour, mixing well to combine after each addition. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake in the oven until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack and cool completely. The pound cake may be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate until use.

For the cranberry compote:
12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and release their juices. Remove from heat and cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 days.

For the candied walnuts:
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the walnuts on a baking tray and bake 10 minutes. Heat the sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. As soon as it begins to dissolve, stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is liquid and amber colored. Add the walnuts and stir to coat. Add the salt and cinnamon. Remove from the heat and pour the walnuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpac sheet. Cool completely then break into coarse pieces. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

For the orange mascarpone cream:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, chilled
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier or Cointreau
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the cream and mascarpone in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire attachment. Beat until traces of the whisk are visible. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until use. (May be made 4 hours in advance.)

Assemble the trifle:
Reserve a few whole cranberries from the compote for garnish. Pour a thin layer of cranberry compote into the bottom of the trifle dish or individual serving glasses. Cut the pound cake into 3/4-inch cubes. Arrange a layer of pound cake over the compote. Top with a layer of cream. Sprinkle a few of the nuts over the cream. Repeat the layering process, finishing with a layer of cream and nuts. Garnish with reserved cranberries and finely grated orange zest. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 24 hours before serving.

Optional: Brush each layer of pound cake with Cointreau or Gran Marnier for an adult version of this dessert.

Cranberry Orange Trifle with Candied Walnuts

Buttermilk Pound Cake, Cranberries, Candied Walnuts, Orange Mascarpone Cream

Here is a holiday trifle that I couldn’t wait for Christmas to make. The good news is that it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, too. This sumptuous dessert is sweet, tart, crunchy and creamy at once. Buttermilk poundcake is blanketed with layers of cranberry compote, orange infused mascarpone whipped cream and candied walnuts. (Do you see why I couldn’t wait?) Each bite is light and airy with the pop of sweet-tart cranberries and the crunch of cinnamon dusted nuts, so be sure to get a little bit of everything in each spoonful. And, even better, the trifle can rest in the refrigerator overnight, so it’s a perfect do-ahead holiday dessert.

Cranberry Orange Trifle with Candied Walnuts

While there are several components to this trifle, each one may be prepared in advance, and each one is stand alone good, so feel free to use them on their own. Serve in a trifle bowl or individual goblets. Makes 8-10 servings.

For the buttermilk pound cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment; butter parchment. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl; set aside.
Beat sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add half of the flour, then the buttermilk, then the remaining flour, mixing well to combine after each addition. Pour into loaf pan. Bake in oven until wooden skewer inserted in center comes clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely. Pound cake may be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate until use.

For the cranberry compote:
12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and release juices. Remove from heat and cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 days.

For the candied walnuts:
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange walnuts on a baking tray. Bake in oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Heat sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. As soon as it begins to dissolve, stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is liquid and amber colored. Add walnuts and stir to coat. Add salt and cinnamon. Remove from heat and pour walnuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment or silpac sheet. Allow to cool completely. Break into pieces. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

For the orange mascarpone cream:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, chilled
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier or Cointreau
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cream and mascarpone in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until traces of whisk are visible. Add remaining ingredients and continue to beat until peaks form. Refrigerate until use. (May be made 4 hours in advance.)

Assemble the trifle:
Reserve a few whole cranberries from the compote for garnish. Pour a thin layer of cranberry compote into the bottom of the trifle dish or individual glasses. Cut the pound cake in 3/4 inch cubes. Arrange a layer of pound cake over the compote. Top with a layer of cream. Sprinkle with a few of the nuts. Repeat layering process, finishing with a layer of cream and nuts. Garnish with reserved cranberries and finely grated orange zest. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered up to 24 hours before serving.

Optional: Brush each layer of pound cake with Cointreau or Gran Marnier for an adult version of this dessert.

Rhubarb Trifle with Almond Macarons and Vanilla Cream

Rhubarb Trifle Bowl

Hardy and dependable, rhubarb is one of the first gifts to emerge from the springtime garden. Following winter it’s a welcome sight, and eagerly put to use in our kitchen. Simply prepared with sugar, it makes a lovely compote that, if not closely guarded, is quickly gobbled up before it can be put to further use. However, with some advance planning and self discipline, rhubarb compote can be dressed up even further, making a lovely addition to a trifle. Trifles are fun to assemble and showcase beautiful layers of fruit and cream when presented in a glass. In this case chunky pink rhubarb is layered between ripples of vanilla infused cream and whipped cream. Almond macarons replace the traditional sponge, adding a chewy nutty texture to this luxurious dessert.

Rhubarb Trifle with Almond Macarons and Vanilla Cream
Serves 8

For the almond macarons:

2 egg whites
1/2 cup superfine sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
1 cup whole almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Beat the egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy. Mix in vanilla extract. Grind almonds in bowl of a food processor with 2 tablespoons sugar until almonds are very finely ground. Fold into egg whites. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the egg mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in oven until golden brown, 15 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes about 2 dozen.

For the rhubarb:

2 pounds rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut in 1/2″ pieces
3/4 cup sugar

Toss rhubarb and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Cover and cook rhubarb until very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.

For the vanilla cream:

4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 strawberries, hulled and quartered

Whisk egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar together in a medium saucepan. Heat milk and vanilla bean in another saucepan until milk begins to boil. Stir 2 tablespoons milk into eggs. Slowly add remaining milk, stirring constantly. Heat the milk and eggs until nearly boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over medium heat. The milk will thicken to heavy cream consistency and thickly coat the wooden spoon. Do not let boil. Remove from heat and strain through a fine meshed sieve into a bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the custard. Cool completely.

Before assembly, whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a bowl of mixer until beginning to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons sugar to cream and continue to beat until peaks form. Remove 1/2 of whipped cream and set aside. Gently fold the vanilla cream into the remaining whipped cream.

Assemble trifle:
Spoon a thin layer of the rhubarb into the bottom of a glass serving bowl or individual glasses. Crumble 1/3 of the macaroons over the rhubarb. Cover with a layer of the vanilla whipped cream. Top with 1/2 of the remaining rhubarb. Crumble 1/3 of the macaroons over the rhubarb. Cover with a layer of the vanilla whipped cream. Top with remaining rhubarb. Crumble remaining macaroons over rhubarb. Spoon the reserved whipped cream over the top of the trifle. Dot the top of the trifle with fresh strawberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. The trifle may be assembled up to 4 hours before serving. The longer it sits, the softer it will become.