Holiday Trifle

When I was about 10 years old my Aunt Irene began to invite us to her home along with other family and friends for all of the Jewish holidays. Each holiday she served this amazing Berry Trifle. What we loved about her trifle as kids is that she used those amazing Nilla Vanilla Wafer cookies to layer the trifle. That just got us all excited and made us laugh. We could hardly wait to dive in. At 10 years old, I hated sweets and never ate them. But this one, I loved! Maybe because she made it with love and I could taste it. This recipe uses either pound cake or vanilla wafers, which ever strikes your fancy. Enjoy!

TIP: It’s best to serve this beautiful dessert in a large Trifle bowl. This is a clear, glass bowl on a pedestal that allows the lovely layered dish to show through the glass. It is also known as a pedestal bowl or glass footed bowl.

Serves:

8 – 10

Total Time:

2 hours

For the Grand Marnier Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3 C. whole milk

  • 10 large egg yolks (at room temperature)

  • 1 C. sugar

  • 4 Tbsp. sifted corn starch

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tsp. Grand Marnier liqueur

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream

 

Directions:

First, make the Grand Marnier Cream.

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a strong steaming simmer just before the boiling point. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until eggs are pale and thick. About 3 to 5 minutes depending on the mixer.

With the mixer on low, sprinkle on the cornstarch. Beat on medium speed until combined, scraping down the bowl as you go with a rubber spatula.

Very slowly, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while mixing on low speed and then pour the entire mixture back into the pan.

With extreme patience cook over low heat, stirring continually until the mixture thickens about 5 to 7 minutes. Do not take your eye off of it. When it begins to thicken it goes very quickly and will become scrambled eggs unless you continue to stir and remove it from the heat.

Immediately pour the mixture through a fine sieve over a large bowl. Use a spatula to scrape and help the custard ease through the sieve into the bowl.

Stir in the vanilla, Grand Marnier, butter and heavy cream and place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

For the Trifle

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen pound cakes or 1 ½ boxes Nilla Vanilla Wafers

  • 1 C. seedless raspberry jam

  • ½ C. Grand Marnier liqueur

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries

 

Directions:
Next, make the Trifle.

Cut the pound cake into ¾ inch slices.

Sprinkle each slice with Grand Marnier liqueur and spread raspberry jam over one side.

Place a layer of cake jam side up (or a layer of Vanilla wafers spread with jam on top) on the bottom cutting or breaking the pieces to fit.

Top with a layer of combined berries and then the Grand Marnier cream on top. (Save some raspberries to decorate the top of the trifle.)

Repeat the layers adding three or more layers depending on your bowl size. End your last layer with cake or wafers covering the top, jam side down.

For the Topping

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. cold heavy cream

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla bean paste

 

Directions:

Finally, make the Topping.

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment for about three minutes on high until it begins to thicken.

When it thickens slowly add the sugar and vanilla paste, and continue to whip until it forms soft peaks.

Decorate the top of the trifle with the whip cream in two concentric circles on the outside edge and in the middle. Top with the remaining fresh raspberries.

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My sister and I are nine years apart. We are almost complete opposites in so many ways, and yet we dearly love each other as most sisters do. I love to cook but have never liked baking. Of course, she hates cooking but loves to bake. She found this recipe and shared it with me. We always have loved it and kiddingly always say, “This is the ‘BESTEST’ Carrot Cake anywhere.” Hope you like it as much as we all do.

Serves:

8 – 10

Total Time:

90 minutes

For the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. flour

  • 2 C. sugar

  • 3 C. grated carrots

  • 4 eggs (room temperature)

  • 1 ½ C. sunflower oil

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)

  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt

  • 2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, sugar and carrots in the mixer on low speed.

Add the eggs, oil, cream cheese and mix on medium for one minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on medium for another minute.

Pour into two 8-inch cake pans and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack out of the pan.

For the Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)

  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)

  • 1lb. box powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Cream thoroughly the cream cheese and butter.

Sift and slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix well and then add the vanilla.

If the Frosting is too thick for your taste you can thin it by adding milk one Tbsp. at a time.

When cakes have cooled ,place the first layer top side down on the platter. Smooth frosting on the flat side facing up thoroughly.

Place the second layer flat side down on the frosting. Layer the top and the sides if you wish.

Decorate with grated carrots on top and some crumbled candied ginger.

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This recipe was written on a note card that I still have more than 47 years later. Complete each slice with a spread of room temperature butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top. Enjoy. 

Serves:

6 – 8

Total Time:

1 hours 15 minutes

To Prepare

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ C. brown sugar

  • ⅓ C. sunflower oil

  • 2 eggs (room temperature)

  • 3 Tbsp. buttermilk

  • 1 C. banana mashed (about three bananas)

  • 2 C. flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. salt

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a glass bowl, combine the first four ingredients until well mixed.

Add the bananas.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Fold in the dry ingredients until mixed well.

Grease a loaf pan and pour the ingredients into the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a pick comes out clean.

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My daughter is a vegetarian, so she won’t eat chicken soup. Naturally, I cannot cook the matzo balls in chicken stock. I cook them in heavily salted water the way I would cook pasta and they turn out wonderfully. Then I serve them to her in a vegetarian stock.

The key to fluffy big Matzo balls is seltzer water (as my grandmother used to call it). Today we just all call it club soda. You can also substitute rendered chicken fat for the Ghee if you really want to go old-world on this. This pairs with my comforting chicken soup recipe. Enjoy!

Factoid: The second largest population of Jews in the diaspora is in France. The herbs de Provence in this recipe is a nod to them as I can imagine them using it.

 

Serves:

6 – 8

Total Time:

1 hours

For Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 extra-large eggs, separated

  • ½ C. club soda

  • ¼ C. Ghee melted or rendered chicken fat if you want to be traditional

  • 2 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence

  • 1 C. matzo meal

  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

 

Directions:

Gently mix the egg yolks, club soda, ghee, Herbs de Provence and two tsps. salt.

Gently stir in the matzo meal.

In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the egg whites with the remaining tsp. of salt until they are stiff with strong peaks.

Fold them into the matzo mixture gently and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

With a 1.5-inch ice cream scoop, form into balls. Drop them into simmering well salted water and cook for 30 minutes, rolling them over after cooking them for 15 minutes.

Be sure to roll each one of them individually.

Serve two in each bowl of chicken soup. Enjoy!

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Serves:

8

Total Time:

5 hours

For the Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole chickens, 3 to 4 lbs. each OR 1 whole chicken and 4 lbs. chicken legs and thighs combination

  • 2 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered

  • 4 carrots, unpeeled and halved

  • 6 stalks celery with leaves cut in half

  • 1 large rutabaga

  • 1 large turnip

  • 1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley

  • 1 large bunch thyme

  • 1 large bunch dill

  • 3 large sprigs rosemary

  • 2 large heads garlic, unpeeled and cut in half lengthwise

  • 3 Tbsp. Kosher salt

  • 1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns

 

Directions:

If you are using the 4 lbs. of legs and thighs, ask the butcher to split or crush the bones of the meat before packaging. This allows the broth to become richer with collagen and create more of a succulent and healthy bone broth that creates a jellied consistency when cold. (A true sign of lots of collagen for good health.)

Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, rutabaga, turnip, parsley, thyme, dill, rosemary, garlic and seasonings in a 16-quart stock pot.

Cover with water to about ¾ of the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for one hour.

Remove the whole chicken and let cool. Remove the breast meat, cover and set it aside until soup is ready for serving (this way the breast meat will not be overly cooked and tough, but rather delicious and tender for serving).

Return the remaining carcass to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered for three more hours.

Strain the entire contents of the pot through a fine sieve. Let it cool and then chill.

I always find making this a day ahead is a good way to go. Sometimes it can take hours to cool down. You do not want to put it in the fridge to chill if it is still hot because it will sour. Also, most of the dark meat will disintegrate over the three hours. I throw everything away.

Tip: If there is any dark meat worth saving, I always pack it up for meals for my little pup. He loves it.

To Serve

Ingredients:

  • 6 diced carrots

  • 6 diced whole celery

  • ⅛ C. fresh dill

  • ½ C. fresh Italian parsley

 

Directions:

To serve the soup, reheat the stock in a pot adding the carrots, celery, dill and parsley. Shred the reserved chicken breasts into larger pieces and add to the pot. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Season to taste and serve over two matzo balls.

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