On-AirVirginia This Morning


Making holiday cranberry trifle

Posted at 2:28 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 14:28:34-05

RICHMOND, Va. – Every holiday dessert table should have tiny pick-up items to enjoy, but it should also have a centerpiece dessert that takes your breath away, according to Mary Rapoport, consumer affairs director at Virginia Egg Council. She visited the Virginia This Morning kitchen and says this trifle is perfect because you put it together ahead of time and whisk it out at the last minute for a spectacular show and even more spectacular flavor.

Unlike many too-sweet desserts, the tartness of the cranberries mellows it out beautifully. Make the custard a few days ahead, use a store bought or frozen cake and assemble the trifle the day before and refrigerate. No trifle bowl?  Any large glass bowl will do nicely.

Custard Layer                                                                                                            

Serves 12 - 16

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

4 ½ cups milk (at least, 2%)

9 egg yolks (use whites for angel food cake, meringues or macaroons)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan.  Whisk in milk and stir over medium-high heat until mixture reaches a boil.  Let boil 2 min., while stirring.

Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl.  Slowly add 1 cup hot milk, while whisking.  Return mixture to pan and stir until thick and bubbly – boiling about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.

Cool in pan about 20 min., stirring occasionally.  Pour in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap on surface and let cool in refrigerator.  This can be made a day or two ahead.


Cranberry Layer

24 oz. fresh cranberries

1 ½ cups water

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered about 10 minutes.  Cool completely.  Discard cinnamon stick.  This can be made a day or two ahead.


1 (14 -16 oz.) store bought or prepared angel food cake, crusts removed and cubed into 1” pieces


1 cup whipping cream, whipped with 2 T. powdered sugar until stiff

Sugared cranberries (dip berries in simple syrup, let dry, then roll in sugar)

Silk holly leaves


Place half cake cubes on the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Top with half of the cranberry mixture and half the custard.  Repeat layers.

Garnish with dollops of whipped cream, with sugared cranberries, and some silk holly leaves.