This cranberry trifle is a show-stopper and made the December 2017 cover of Panoram Italia magazine. It’s a riff off a recipe I found in a grocery-store calendar from 1989 my mother had hidden in the bottom of a kitchen drawer. That recipe called for store-bought pound cake and vanilla pudding, which I have replaced with homemade sponge cake and mascarpone. It makes for a much lighter-tasting dessert. Since cranberries are plentiful at Christmas, this trifle is perfect for the holidays; but, it can be transformed into a summer dessert when made with strawberries or raspberries. I also add a splash of Grand Marnier liqueur for extra flavour.
- 1/2 recipe pan di spagna, cut into one-inch cubes (or your favourite store-bought sponge cake)
For the cranberry filling:
- 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- grated zest & juice of one orange
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups water
For the mascarpone cream:
- 1 cup mascarpone (8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur (optional)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, white sugar, orange juice, zest and water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries soften and begin to burst, about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
- Next, prepare the mascarpone cream: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat mascarpone, brown sugar, vanilla and Grand Marnier (if using) until combined.
- Slowly add whipping cream and continue beating until soft peaks form.
- To assemble the trifle, place 1/3 of the cake in a trifle bowl or glass serving dish.
- Spoon over 1/3 of the cranberry sauce.
- Pour 1/3 of the mascarpone filling over the cranberry sauce.
- Repeat layers twice more, ending with mascarpone filling.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, you can grate a little dark chocolate over the trifle and lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.