Layer It On Us 

A lighter take on a crowd-pleasing dessert 

| Recipes | Karen Palmer

We test and taste every recipe we publish. While we collaborate with a lot of talented chefs, we adapt and tinker with everything in our test kitchen. (It smells really good in here). Our goal is to make sure every recipe works as well in your home kitchen as it does in ours. So go on, get cooking with confidence.


Texture, color, taste: A holiday trifle has them all.

Who doesn’t like a trifle? Prep-wise, it’s a simple layering job. Eating-wise, it’s a sweet melding of flavors and textures. Our Test Kitchen’s version combines wine-roasted red grapes, Neufchâtel cheese, nonfat yogurt, sliced almonds, ladyfingers and a touch of cream for a lighter dessert that’s rich, creamy and complex. Serve in individual ramekins, or in a six-cup trifle dish for large gatherings. Count on raves.

Roasted Grape and Red Wine Trifle

Yield: 6 servings

Cook Time: 45 minutes (plus 30 minutes to set)

  • 1½ cups light-bodied, fruity red wine (such as Beaujolais)

    1 tablespoon agave syrup

    1½ cups seedless red grapes, halved

    1/3 cup sliced almonds

    ½ cup Neufchâtel cheese

    3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

    2 teaspoons lemon juice

    2 tablespoons heavy cream

    1/8 teaspoon almond extract

    18 ladyfinger cookies


1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a 9-inch square baking dish, stir together the wine and agave syrup. Add the grapes and roast until the grapes are shriveled and the wine is reduced to about ½ cup, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven.

2. On a small rimmed baking sheet, add the almonds and toast in the oven until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven.

3. While the grapes and almonds cool, make the filling and topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the Neufchâtel and beat on medium speed to soften, about 1 minute. Add the yogurt and lemon juice and beat to combine, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer half of the mixture to a small bowl.

4. To the remaining Neufchâtel-yogurt mixture in the mixer bowl, add the heavy cream and almond extract. Remove the paddle attachment and, using the whisk attachment, whip the topping on medium-high speed until it is light and airy, about 30 seconds.

5. Dip a ladyfinger rounded side down in the grapes and wine and place it dipped side up in the bottom of a small glass or ramekin (you may need to slice the ladyfingers in half to get them to fit in the glass). Add a few grapes and a generous tablespoon of the Neufchâtel-yogurt filling. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, grapes and the whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining 5 servings. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Sprinkle with the almonds before serving. (The trifle can also be layered in a 6-cup trifle dish instead of in individual ramekins.) Calories per Serving: 307; Sodium: 123mg; Total Carbohydrate: 34g; Fiber: 1g; Fat: 12g

Make a Fried-Grape Salad
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