Holiday Trifle

This trifle can be made anytime of the year.  Fresh  seasonal ingredients make it the perfect dessert for your holiday menu.

Yield: One 3-quart trifle

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
Zest of orange
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ recipe of Orange Anise Bisocotti
¼ cup orange liqueur
1 recipe Gingerbread, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 recipe pastry cream
Candied or dried cranberries, for garnish
Fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Place the cranberries, orange zest, ½ cup of sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick in a small bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioners sugar together until medium stiff peaks form.
  3. Lay the biscotti out onto a baking sheet and generously douse them with orange liquor.
  4. Place a layer of gingerbread cubes into the bottom of your trifle bowl, top it with half of the pastry cream
  5. Then add a layer of the moistened biscotti and top it with a layer of cranberries, being sure to use a slotted spoon as to not drown the trifle in cranberry juice
  6. Top the cranberries with a layer of whipped cream, then repeat the process: gingerbread, pastry cream, biscotti, cranberries, whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving
  7. Garnish with candied or dried cranberries, fresh mint, and biscotti crumbles.


Orange Anise Biscotti

Originally called biscottini, or “little biscuits,” these were hard, dry biscuits for sailors made by cutting bread and baking it a second time so it would last on a sea voyage. These breads were sometimes flavored or sweetened, which evolved into modern biscotti.

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
¼ cup sour cream
½ tsp orange extract
2 ¼ cup sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed anise seeds
½ tsp orange zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the                    sugar, oil and egg on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Add the sour cream and orange extract, and beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the anise seed and orange zest. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead the dough with your hands for 1 minute.
  5. Shape the dough into a 12-inch roll about 2in-ches in diameter, and place the roll in the center of the prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until light and golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven.  Cool on the cookie sheet for about 25 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 1 ½ -inch-thick diagonal slices.
  8. Arrange the slices, flat sides down, on the same cookie sheet, and pu back into the oven for 5minutes. Turn each slice over and bake for 5 minutes more until the biscotti are just toasted.  Do not over bake.
  9. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool.  To store, transfer them to a tightly covered container and keep at room temperature



Gingerbread was an elegant dessert served in the eighteenth century. Recipes commonly appeared in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American “receipt” or recipe books.

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup molasses
½ tsp grated orange zest
1 egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
21½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground all spice
½ tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and fit a piece of parchment into the bottom of a 9 x 13 cake pan, or grease the side and bottom of a Bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of and electric mixer with the paddle attachments, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy, scraping down often. Add the molasses and orange zest and beat until incorporated.
  3. With the mixer running, add the egg then scrape down the bowl.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together. With the mixer on a slow speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk to the butter mixture, scraping down often.
  5. Spread the batter in a pan and 20-25 minute for 9 x 13 cake pan, 30-40 minutes for a Bundt pan, of until the cake is golden and puffed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.