I was off cooking duty on Christmas as two of my lovely aunts hosted Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectively. But I did dabble with dessert and as I had some fresh cranberries on hand I wanted to use them to add a festive red color to whatever I was to finally make. Knowing that I had a new package of Savoiardi cookies in the pantry I decided to put together a cranberry trifle with a Savoiardi twist. I “spiked” the cream with a bit of Marsala and fell in love with this Zabaglione-like cream filling (I could have spooned the entire bowl–no joke). And not to brag or anything but … this festive cranberry trifle was enjoyed by all on a most joyful Christmas Day.
And here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2009! Kali Xronia!
P.S. My cranberry trifle was by no means the only dessert set out on Christmas. As you can see here, it was surrounded by a multitude of sinfully rich desserts from my mom’s baklava, to my aunt’s karydopita, to another aunt’s (our generous hostess’) coconut macaroons, chocolate chip biscotti, melomakarona, kourabiedes and her insanely good pumpkin cheesecake topped with fresh whipped cream and a generous dusting of cinnamon.
About 24 ounces of fresh cranberries
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups water
1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup dry Marsala
12 to 15 Savoiardi (depending on your trifle bowl)
Combine cranberries with the regular sugar, ginger and water and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let compote cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla on high until well combined. With mixer on medium, gradually add heavy cream and Marsala; continue beating until soft peaks form.
Arrange a layer of Savoiardi in a trifle bowl. Spoon 1/3 of compote over, gently spreading to sides of bowl. Dollop 1/3 of cream filling over compote, also gently spreading to sides of bowl. Repeat twice, ending with cream filling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to 1 day).