Anna Olson helps you enjoy the tastes of the holiday season with this delicious recipe for Apple Crisp and Bourbon-Cream Trifle from her new book, "Back to Baking."

Apple Crisp and Bourbon-Cream Trifle

Not a typical trifle, this holiday dessert is made by layering chilled apple crisp with a bourbon-spiked pastry cream and toasted pecans.


Pastry Cream:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp (37.5 mL) cornstarch
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) bourbon

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) bourbon, plus extra for sprinkling


  • 1 recipe Classic Fruit Crisp, made with apples (page 124 in "Back to Baking"), chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) lightly toasted pecan halves
  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish


Bring the cream and milk to a simmer in a saucepot. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot cream, then pour the entire mixture back into the pot. Whisk the custard over medium heat until it has thickened and just begins to bubble, about three minutes. Pour the cooked custard through a strainer into a bowl, and stir in the butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the pastry cream and chill completely. Once chilled, stir in three tablespoons (45 mL) of bourbon.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Fold one cup (250 mL) of the whipped cream into the pastry cream. Stir the sugar, vanilla, and two tablespoons (30 mL) of bourbon into the remaining whipped cream.

To assemble, spoon half of the chilled apple crisp into a 12-cup (3 L) trifle bowl and sprinkle with bourbon. Top the crisp with half of the pastry cream and sprinkle with half of the pecans. Top this with the remaining apple crisp, sprinkle with bourbon, and top with the remaining pastry cream and pecans. Spread the whipped cream overtop and dust lightly with cinnamon. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes one 12-cup (3L) trifle. Serves 12 to 16.