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Cherry-Pistachio Trifle

Easy to assemble and beautiful to behold, it's the ideal dessert for a crowd
64 Ratings
92% would make again
Cherry-Pistachio Trifle Recipe
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

If you've never had a trifle before, today is your lucky day. Trifle is the ideal dessert for feeding a crowd, because it's easy to assemble but looks impressive, you can make it in advance and it holds up well for a few hours. In this summery version, we layer cubes of blueberry pound cake with grapefruit pastry cream, stewed cherries and pistachios. It's the perfect way to put summer's ripe berries and cherries on display.

If you're prepping this in advance, make all the components up to a day before. Then assemble the trifle a few hours before your guests arrive and hold it in the fridge. That way, dessert is already taken care of, and you can focus on your guests.

To learn more, read “The Trifle Tower.”

Cherry-Pistachio Trifle

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes, plus macerating, cooling and chilling time

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus macerating, cooling and chilling time


For the Pound Cake:

Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing

1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1½ cups blueberries

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

½ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

For the Grapefruit Curd:

1½ cups sugar

¾ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 eggs, plus 3 yolks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons grapefruit zest

For the Stewed Cherries:

4 cups (1½ pounds) red cherries, stemmed and pitted

¼ cup kirsch cherry brandy

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Grapefruit Pastry Cream:

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Grapefruit curd

For Assembly:

Pound cake cubes

Grapefruit pastry cream

1 cup blueberries

Stewed cherries

½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped

½ cup cherries—stemmed, pitted and halved


1. Make the pound cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the sugar, mashing slightly to release some of the juices. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to macerate.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vanilla and eggs. Stir in the macerated blueberries, followed by the dry ingredients; mix until a smooth batter forms.

3. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut into 1-inch cubes.

4. While the pound cake bakes, make the grapefruit curd: In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, grapefruit juice, cornstarch, salt, eggs and egg yolks until smooth, then place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, then stir in the butter and grapefruit zest until smooth. Cool over an ice bath. Then chill until firm, 2 hours.

5. Make the stewed cherries: In a medium saucepan, combine all the cherry ingredients, except the cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the cherries have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

6. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of juice from the cherry mixture until smooth. Then add that to the pot. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until thickened, 2 minutes, and remove from the heat to cool over an ice bath.

7. Make the grapefruit pastry cream: In a large bowl, combine the cream, confectioner's sugar and salt, and, using an electric hand mixer, whip to stiff peaks. Set 1½ cups of the whipped cream aside. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the grapefruit curd until smooth.

8. Assemble the trifle: In a 3-quart trifle bowl, layer one-third of the pound cake cubes, followed by one-third of the grapefruit pastry cream, ¼ cup of the blueberries, one-third of the stewed cherries and 2 tablespoons of the pistachios. Repeat this layering process 2 more times to fill the trifle bowl. Spread the reserved whipped cream over the top layer, then garnish with the remaining ¼ cup of blueberries, the remaining 2 tablespoons of pistachios and the halved cherries. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

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