A trifle is an attention-grabbing dessert typically made with sponge cake soaked in booze and topped with clearly defined layers of fruit, custard and cream. It’s prepared in a large glass dish or trifle bowl so everyone can ooh and aah over its colorful configuration and is traditionally served at Christmastime. The trifle overlaps both a “fool” and a Russian Cake (also known as a Russian Trifle or Creole Trifle) in terms of ingredients and preparation. And I would think it is related in some way, shape or form to tiramisu and our beloved banana pudding.
My Brownie Trifle is a variation on this theme with all its lusciously loose layers. I fill my trifle dish full of chewy brownie bites, creamy white chocolate pudding and gooey caramel. Although my version breaks tradition with the exclusion of alcohol and fruit as well as the time of year in which I serve it, it’s just as inviting. I created it with my kids in mind to fill the void that usually exists between the pecan and pumpkin pies on most Thanksgiving Day dessert buffets. If you’re cooking for a crowd this Thursday, you may want to consider making this trifle for those who have yet to develop a taste for the usual Turkey Day sweets (and you can prepare it in a pinch by using premade brownies). Just be forewarned that anyone with access to a spoon or fork will have a hard time resisting this one!
Brownie Trifle Recipe
2 21-ounce packages chewy fudge brownie mix
2 3.3-ounce packages instant white chocolate pudding
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream
2 8-ounce containers frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
1 12 1/4-ounce jar caramel topping
Prepare brownies according to package directions. While brownies are baking, prepare pudding in a large bowl according to package directions; cover and place in refrigerator to thicken. Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on low until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream to cream cheese; beat on low until combined, an additional 2 minutes. Fold one container of whipped topping into cream cheese mixture; set aside. Remove pudding from refrigerator; fold in remaining container of whipped topping. Begin assembling the trifle by breaking one-third of the brownies into bite-size pieces and placing them in an even layer on bottom of a trifle dish. Pour one-third cream cheese mixture evenly over brownies; drizzle with one-third caramel topping. Pour one-third of the pudding mixture evenly over caramel. Repeat layering process with remaining ingredients, reserving a few pieces of brownie and a couple of tablespoons caramel for the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 10-12.