Sheri Castle: Strawberry Tiramisu Trifles

Strawberry Tiramisu Trifles

Trifle is an old-fashioned recipe made by layering cake, custard, and cream in a fancy glass bowl and sometimes dousing the whole thing with alcohol. This trifle features crisp ladyfingers and mascarpone, ingredients found in Italian tiramisu, but paired with berries and orange liqueur instead of chocolate and espresso.  These lovely, delicious little treats are assembled in glasses so that everyone gets an individual serving, which always makes people feel special and well tended. Glasses with 9-ounce capacities and sides about the same height as an upright ladyfinger are ideal, such as parfait glasses, short drinking glasses, or wine glasses that are not tapered at the top. However, if you prefer to make one big trifle, you can use a standard trifle bowl, deep glass serving bowl, or even a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, for times when looks are no big deal.

Makes 6 servings


1 cup strawberry preserves

6 tablespoons Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or other orange liqueur

6 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 cup chilled whipping cream

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

7 ounces crisp ladyfingers or biscotti savoiardi

4 cups capped and sliced strawberries

6 perfect whole berries, for garnish



1. Whisk together the strawberry preserves, liqueur, and orange juice in a small bowl.

2. Beat the whipping cream to very soft peaks in a medium bowl. Add the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla and continue beating until soft peaks form.

3. Divide half of the whipped cream mixture evenly among the six serving glasses. (A small spring-loaded scoop makes this easier and neater.) Stand 4 ladyfingers upright inside each glass, spacing them evenly. The whipped cream mixture should hold them in place. Divide half of the strawberry preserve mixture evenly among the glasses. Divide the sliced strawberries among the glasses. Top with the rest of the preserve mixture, followed by the remaining cream mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Just before serving, garnish each parfait with a whole berry.

Tips and Techniques
: Liqueurs add flavor, liquid, and sweetness to recipes. However, if you do not want to use alcohol, use flavored drink syrups instead, such as those used in fancy coffee concoctions. Match the flavor of the syrup to the liqueur, such as coffee for Kahlúa, hazelnut for Frangelico, and raspberry for Chambord. These syrups are available in coffee shops, gourmet shops, and many grocery stores.


Sheri Castle is a food writer and cooking instructor based in Chapel Hill, N.C. Visit the author’s website here. Become a fan of her book on Facebook here, or follow the author on Twitter @shericastle. To see when she’ll be doing readings, signings, and tastings near you, check out the events on her author page here.

Recipes from The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes by Sheri Castle. Copyright © 2011 by Sheri Castle.