The cranberries and pastry cream can be made up to three days ahead. Then, simply assemble and refrigerate the trifle up to 24 hours before you plan to serve it.
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (10.75-ounce) loaf pound cake (such as Sara Lee), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon orange rind
How to Make It
To prepare cranberries, combine 3/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and Grand Marnier in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add cranberries to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 8 minutes or until cranberries pop. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cover and chill.
To prepare pastry cream, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add milk to pan, stirring with a whisk until blended; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to eggs, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl until custard cools to room temperature (about 25 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Arrange half of cake cubes in the bottom of a 2-quart trifle dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry mixture over cake; top with 1 1/2 cups pastry cream. Repeat layers. Garnish with rind. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill at least 4 hours.
I have made this dessert several times for holiday dinner guests who raved about it. They were sick of really sweet desserts whch this is not.The crunch of the bright red cranberries and the creaminess of the custard make a great combination. I can shop ahead and keep a Sara Lee pound cake in the freezer. My late Aunt Phyllis gave me a beautiful, smoky cut glass bowl that I use to serve this trifle. It looks so elegant and classy-like her! I was careful to follow the recipe exactly. I will make this again as pies and cakes are not my thing.
I made this with triple sec since that's what I had and it was good. Made it the same day I served it; will make it a day ahead when I serve it again. I had no problem with the pastry cream, it thickened right away. I did whisk CONSTANTLY after I added the eggs until I cooked 1 min and got it quickly into an iced pan.
This was fantastic! I used skim milk but didn't change anything else and it was wonderful. I am glad I have a bit of the leftovers because the taste is something I can't give up. Even the next day, with the pound cake a little "soggy", it's still delicious.
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