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Looking for a breakfast recipe to serve for the holidays? See if this fits your requirements: Make ahead, economical, enough substance so that people aren’t hungry an hour later, and on the healthy side. Meet Cranberry Cornbread Trifle.

Just about anyway you make it, a trifle is a celebration. An English dessert with layers of sponge cake, whipped cream, custard, sherry, rum or brandy, fruit and jam showcased in a clear glass bowl.

Most wouldn’t tinker with a traditional trifle. Leave that to me. Layers of cranberries, pear, orange, yogurt, ginger and cornbread take trifle to a sparkling new level. One that delivers something tasty and healthy.

Why I like Cranberry Orange Cornbread Trifle

  • Cranberries’ tart flavor keep this from being too sweet and their crimson color delivers healthful compounds that may reduce inflammation and help with heart health.
  • Yogurt replaces whipped cream with creamy protein and calcium.
  • Pear and orange add flavor plus fiber.
  • Cornbread replaces the sweet cake bringing the sugar down.
  • The trifle can be assembled the day before you serve it, so takes some last-minute busyness away. The time in the fridge improves the flavor.
  • These foods appear on many holiday menus, so can also be a way to repurpose leftovers.
  • Trust me, I know the yogurt and cornbread are not traditional, but I bet you’ll love this riff on an old standard.
  • Cranberries
  • The red color seems perfect for fall and the holidays, but even more, that color comes from anthocyanins, which makes them a powerful health contributor, helping reduce urinary tract infections and boosting heart health.
  • The darker red the cranberry, the more ripe and less bitter they are. Before you use them, pick out shriveled or mushy ones. Fall is harvest time for North American cranberries. Fresh cranberries will keep up to 2 months in the refrigerator. You can enjoy them all year; just store the bag in the freezer. They’ll be good until next year. No need to thaw. Use the frozen fruit as you would fresh cranberries. These are a quick cooking berry, in 10 minutes or so, when they pop, they’re about done.
  • Five Spice is a spice blend frequently used in Asian cooking. Find it in the spice aisle at the grocery store.

Cranberry Cornbread Trifle

12 ounces fresh cranberries

1 ½ cups water

¾ cups sugar

½ cup orange juice

1 teaspoon five spice

4 cups cornbread, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 cups orange, orange/ginger or plain yogurt

1 fresh orange, peeled, chopped

1 pear, chopped (or 1 can pears, drained)

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped

Combine cranberries, water, sugar, orange juice and five spice in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat cook until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low, stir and cook 10 minutes more. Set aside to cool.

To make trifle: In a bowl, layer cornbread, cranberries, yogurt, pear, orange, crystallized ginger. Repeat. End with yogurt and some sliced oranges and chopped ginger for decoration. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

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Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website for every day food solutions.


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