Christmas Berry Trifle

Pound cake brushed with port is layered with a berry filling, vanilla custard, and chopped chocolate to make these festive desserts.

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Christmas Berry Trifle
Makes: 10  servings Prep 1 hr Start to Finish 8 hrs


  • 1 1/2 cups  sugar
  • 12 ounces  fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries
  • 6 ounces  fresh or frozen (unthawed) raspberries
  • 5 ounces  dried cherries
  • 1 tablespoon  finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 3 cups  half-and-half
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/4 cup  cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped from pod
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 cup  ruby port
  • 1/4 cup  sugar
  • 2 frozen pound cakes (10-3/4 oz. each), thawed
  • 1 3 1/2ounce bar bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus shavings for garnish
  • 1 cup  heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


Make berry filling::

1. Stir together the first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 4-1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Chill, loosely covered, until cold, about 4 hours. Filling will thicken as it cools.

Make vanilla custard::

2. Heat half-and-half in a medium saucepan over moderate heat just until hot (do not boil).

3. Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla seeds, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup hot half-and-half in a slow stream. Whisk egg mixture into remaining half-and-half in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened (do not boil) and custard registers 170 degree F on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes. Immediately strain through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap and chill until cold and thickened, about 4 hours.

Make port syrup::

4. Combine port, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan; simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let stand until cooled to room temperature.

To assemble trifle::

5. Cut each cake horizontally into about 2/3-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice evenly with port syrup and cut each slice crosswise into about 1-3/4-inch squares. Line the bottom of a 3-quart glass trifle or souffle dish with 1/3 of cake, overlapping if necessary. Top with 1/3 of berry mixture, 1/4 of custard, and 1/3 of chopped chocolate. Repeat layering 2 more times. Spoon whipped cream over top and garnish with chocolate shavings. Chill trifle and remaining custard at least 2 hours or overnight. Spoon trifle into bowls and serve with remaining custard on side. Makes 10 servings.

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings Per Recipe 10
  • cal.(kcal)820,
  • Fat, total(g)38,
  • chol.(mg)298,
  • sat. fat(g)21,
  • carb.(g)113,
  • fiber(g)3,
  • pro.(g)10,
  • sodium(mg)329,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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