This Cranberry Orange Trifle is the easiest recipe for a really stunning holiday dessert. The cranberry and orange combination is perfect.
Have I ever told you that I was raised by a woman who really doesn’t like to cook?
If my mother wasn’t the frugal, semi-health-conscious person that her own home-cooking mother raised her to be, I have no doubt I would have been raised entirely on takeout. As it was, with the exception of her freezer stockpile of Schwann’s frozen dinners, I learned the art of the quick and easy recipe from my mother. She may have despised the chore of cooking and reminded us of that around 5 PM most nights when my siblings and I all started moaning about hunger pangs and sniffing around for dinner. Still, we ate macaroni and cheese from scratch, lemon pepper chicken and rice, and something called “Vegetables in a Cloud,” which was tastier than it might sound. She didn’t like to cook, but she got the job done.
As a mother myself now with four little mouths to feed, I am more grateful to her than ever before. I actually like to cook and enjoy every second of my time in the kitchen. But time in the kitchen, especially as a single parent, is always more rushed than I’d like it to be. Turns out, the most helpful things I learned about cooking, I learned from a woman who really doesn’t like to cook.
My mother didn’t pass on the secrets for a perfect slow cooked Bolognese Sauce or the ins and outs of a delicious pot roast. But when the baby skips his nap, and I have to hover over my nine year old to ensure she actually finishes her violin practice, and suddenly it’s time for dinner, it’s all of mom’s old tricks that I pull out of my sleeve to get food on the table. Thanks to mom, I learned the art of the one pot meal (long before it was a trend), how to repurpose the leftovers, and to always make two of everything – one for the table, one for the freezer.
This Cranberry Orange Trifle is yet another of mom’s best kitchen tricks for people that hate to cook. It’s dessert, and a stunning dessert at that, but so easy. You can cut corners and buy a pound cake (Sarah Lee, you’re a lifesaver sometimes) and even skip the pastry cream and sub in a box pudding mix. Or, if you want to channel a tiny bit of Julia and Martha, you can spend a few extra minutes in the kitchen and make the whole thing from scratch. Either way, you’ve got a dessert with a perfect flavor combination (Cranberry + Orange = So Incredibly Good) that is a real show stopper. We have my mother, queen of the trifle, to thank for this delightful treat.
For all the people tasked with bringing Dessert to Thanksgiving Dinner next week – this one is for you. You’re going to love it, even if you hate to cook.
For the Cranberry Sauce
For the Pastry Cream