There is not much I love more than a festive holiday dessert. And as far as festive holiday desserts go, this is one of the best.
Here are my top ten reasons you should make this trifle
1: It tastes fantastic.
2: It looks impressive.
3: It travels well (just keep the trifle dish upright).
4: Many of the components can be made way ahead of time: the cranberry compote can be refrigerated at least a week. The pound cakes can be frozen a good month or so--easier yet, buy frozen pound cakes at your supermarket. And the entire trifle can be assembled the night before.
5: Cranberries are good for you.
6: While all butter pound cakes aren't necessarily good for you, they are oh so tasty.
7: Whipped cream is delicious.
8: Add cream cheese to whipped cream and the deliciousness compounds exponentially.
9: The candied orange zest looks gourmet and adds a wonderful zing.
10: You might as well indulge now. January will be here before you know it.
from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food
2 bags (12 ounces each) cranberries, fresh or frozen
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (I cheated and used "Christopher Ranch" chopped ginger--find it in the produce section)
1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
2 homemade or store-bought all-butter pound cakes (12 ounces each), cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices (If using store bought, I recommend Sarah Lee)
Candied Orange Zest, for garnish (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, 2 cups granulated sugar, ginger, and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium; cook until cranberries begin to burst, 8 to 10 minutes. Let compote cool completely.
Make cream filling: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and vanilla on high until well combined. With mixer on medium, gradually add heavy cream; continue beating until soft peaks form.
Arrange 1/3 of the cake slices in a 3-quart serving dish. Spoon 1/3 of compote over cake; spread to sides of dish. Dollop 1/3 of cream filling over compote; spread to sides of dish. Repeat twice, ending with cream filling. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day). Garnish with Candied Orange Zest, if desired.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add zest of one orange (peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler); simmer, swirling occasionally, until zest is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a plate. Dredge zest in sugar, and thinly slice.