Cranberry Orange Trifle // Sugared Cranberries

I’ve been on a brief OCD break given my hectic exams, research deadlines, and holiday social calendar, but it feels good to be back in the kitchen with my camera.

This holiday was extra busy as B’s family came from California to visit us in Texas so our folks could finally meet (big steps!).

Cranberry Orange Trifle Sugared Cranberries holiday dessert

Christmas dinner was particularly special; it was their first time visiting our house, so we made sure to cook (and clean) up a storm. They’d already had some good local food as they toured San Antonio, Austin, and the Hill country, but they’ve never been to the five star, highly acclaimed Uy kitchen (prowled by our mascot, our always hungry American Eskimo dog, Snowball).

We each had our own dish to present; dessert, of course, was my territory. I wanted to make a layered holiday trifle because not only is it elegant, it’s filled with fruits, whipped cream, and custard – my kind of treat!  This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, features tart cranberries, orange zest, and Grand Marnier liquor.

Ok, so this recipe isn’t really that “light”…. but it’s the holidays and they’re on vacation, so Dr. Dad and I don’t feel too guilty making their glucose and lipids skyrocket.

I was going for a big presentation in our holiday crystal trifle bowl, but dad accidentally dropped a pot on it while washing, and it shattered to pieces – such perfect timing, alas! So I had to make do with these shooters, which turned out pretty well in a pinch. I topped each glass with sugared cranberries and a rosemary sprig for some festive holiday decoration.

Success in the Uy kitchen means everyone having indigestion post meal. Everyone ate into a coma – mission accomplished.

Cranberry Orange Trifle

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier liquor
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk (2%)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 loaf pound cake, sliced (storebought or homemade)
whipped cream
sugared cranberries and rosemary, to garnish (recipe below)

To prepare cranberries, stir 3/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and Grand Marnier in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 min. Add cranberries to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries pop. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cover and chill (may add cornstarch to thicken if needed)

To prepare pastry cream, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to eggs, stirring constantly with a whisk (so the eggs don’t curdle). Return milk-egg mixture to pan; cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and remove from heat to let cool and thicken, stirring occasionally, to a custard consistency.

To assemble, layer pound cake slices with cranberry compote and whipped cream and custard. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with sugared cranberries and rosemary for garnish. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Sugared Cranberries

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup water

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in cranberries for several minutes (do not let boil or they’ll pop). Drain and dry cranberries in a strainer.

To make superfine sugar, pulse remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor or blender; pour into a shallow dish. Roll cranberries to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature until dry.

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  1. This was so delicious! Everyone in the family loved it! Making it is beyond my skill so I'll just let you make it for me =)

  2. Yum! These sound so delicious and are so pretty ~ I'm sure everyone liked them 🙂 Also, congrats on the parents meeting! That's huge! I'm sure they were blown away by your dessert.