Holiday Trifle

by Nanny Bubby

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!

Total Time:

2 hours




For the Trifle

  • 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

For the Grand Marnier Cream

  • 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

For the Topping

  • 1 c. cold heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla bean paste


  • 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 yoks 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.



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.

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