Gingerbread Trifle: A Favorite Holiday Dessert
This magnificent gingerbread trifle will feed — and wow — a crowd. It makes a festive holiday dessert that bursts with the flavors of the season. And it’s super make-ahead friendly.
Why we love this gingerbread trifle for Christmas dessert
Way back in 2005, when you could still learn how to cook from your average Food Network show, I watched an episode Bobby Flay‘s Boy Meets Grill called Holiday Celebration.
He made a gingerbread trifle with lemon curd and blackberry sauce. And then, so did I. People really liked it.
This gingerbread trifle recipe is:
- A little bit delightfully different from your average Christmas dessert, at least in the U.S.
- A little bit delightfully different from your average trifle recipe, too. The combination of generously spiced gingerbread; rich, tangy lemon curd; pillowy whipped cream; and vibrant blackberry sauce somehow manages to feel both pleasantly traditional and new.
- Make-ahead friendly. It actually improves with overnight rest. (Don’t we all?)
- Big enough to feed a crowd.
- Honestly kind of a conversation starter, if you’re into that sort of thing.
How we made this gingerbread trifle recipe even better
Right off the bat, we made a couple of key changes to Bobby Flay’s recipe. And over the years, we’ve tweaked it a bit more, to make it perfect.
- We make our own lemon curd, which makes ALL the difference.
- Lemon curd and lightly sweetened whipped cream each get their own layer in our version, which gives you bursts of bright lemon curd flavor and a gorgeous, contrasting color scheme.
- We omit the crystallized ginger from the original recipe, because it’s just toooooooo much.
- We’ve clarified the instructions by a whole lot.
- And we’ve added a jewel-toned pomegranate garnish, to name a few.
How to make gingerbread trifle with lemon curd and blackberry sauce
First things first: promise me you won’t be intimidated by this recipe. There are quite a few ingredients and quite a few elements. But it’s totally doable, and totally worth it. See the video and step-by-step photos for detailed visuals.
To make gingerbread trifle, you’ll need to:
- Make a half-sheet pan of gingerbread. This is just like making any other sheet cake, albeit with a ton of flavor.
- Make lemon curd. You’ll be using a few cool kitchen techniques for this part of the recipe: separating eggs, using a double boiler, whisking a lot, keeping a close eye on the temperature of the curd with an instant-read thermometer, and then emulsifying butter into the mixture. Check out our video and step-by-step instructions to see how it all works.
- Whip some cream to the soft-peak stage. See what this looks like in the video.
- Simmer some blackberries with sugar, gussy it up with a little lemon juice and raspberry liqueur, and then give it all a whirl in the blender.
- Then, the most-fun part: layer everything into a beautiful, delicious trifle.
How to make gingerbread
Here’s exactly what it looks like to make a big pan of homemade gingerbread. Watch the video in this post to see it in action. You will:
- Spray a half-sheet pan with cooking spray. Then line it with parchment paper and spray again.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
- Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs, molasses, and hot water.
- Gently mix in the dry ingredients
- Pour and then spread batter onto the prepared pan
- Bake the gingerbread and let it cool
- Flip it onto a cutting board (this part is fun!) or just cut it into squares in the pan
- You’re ready to turn this gingerbread into an epic trifle!
Gingerbread trifle FAQs
Q: Can I make trifle ahead of time?
A: You can, and you should! The flavors and textures of this gingerbread trifle will improve with a night’s rest in the fridge. Make sure to chill it for at least four hours.
Q: What are soft peaks?
A: When whipped cream is at the soft peak stage: If you turn the whisk or beater upside down, the whipped cream will form a point that stands up for an instant and then gently folds over onto itself.
What to serve with gingerbread trifle
Gingerbread trifle is wonderfully flavorful and indulgent. It feeds about 12 people. But if we’re hosting a big Christmas, we like to offer a variety of desserts, including some lighter ones.
For the gingerbread
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed (200 grams) brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup boiling water
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the lemon curd
For the whipped cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the blackberry sauce
- 10 ounces (285 grams) frozen blackberries
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons framboise (raspberry liqueur)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, optional
To make the gingerbread
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Spray a half-sheet pan with cooking spray, line it with a piece of parchment paper, and spray the paper too.
- Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat until combined with the butter, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Lower the mixing speed to medium-low and pour in the molasses. Beat until incorporated. Beat in hot water.
- Lower mixing speed to low and gradually spoon in the flour mixture, along with the lemon zest. Mix just until combined.
- Pour batter onto prepared baking sheet and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
- Let gingerbread cool in the pan set over a cooling rack.
- Once cooled, remove cake from pan. (If you have a large cutting board, you can place it directly on top of the sheet pan and flip the whole thing over to release the gingerbread onto the cutting board. Peel off parchment paper and cut gingerbread into 1-inch squares.
To make the lemon curd
- Make one batch of lemon curd.
To make the whipped cream
- Pour cream, sugar, and vanilla into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until soft peaks form.
To make the blackberry sauce
- In a small pot, stir together the blackberries and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-hight heat and cook until sugar dissolves and blackberries are soft.
- Pour blackberry mixture, framboise, lemon juice, and salt into a blender and process until smooth.
To assemble the trifle
- Place an even layer of gingerbread pieces at the bottom of the trifle bowl. Drizzle in 1/3 of the lemon curd. Spread 1/4 of the whipped cream overtop, to the edges of the bowl. Drizzle in 1/3 of the blackberry sauce.
- Repeat with layers of gingerbread, lemon curd, whipped cream, and blackberry sauce, finishing with a layer of whipped cream.
- Chill, covered, for at least four hours. Overnight chilling is great if you have the time.
- Right before serving, if you like, garnish with pomegranate seeds, blackberries, or a little drizzle of blackberry sauce.
Adapted from Bobby Flay.
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