Chocolate Cream-Puff Trifle

Prep Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins

All the components of our trifle are make-ahead, including the airy chocolate cream puffs. Be sure to check out our piping and assembly tips.


Dried fruit

  • ¼ cup anisette liqueur

  • cup dried cranberries

  • cup dried cherries

Pate a choux puffs

  • ½ stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

  • ½ cup water

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white

Chocolate pastry cream

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  • 1 ½ cups whole milk

  • cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • teaspoon coarse salt

Ricotta cream

  • 16 ounces whole-milk ricotta (2 cups)

  • cup heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

  • 2 tablespoons anisette liqueur

  • teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped


  • 1 ⅓ cups blood-orange or regular orange marmalade

  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks


  1. Dried fruit:

    Bring anisette just to a simmer in a small pot. Add dried fruit and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat; let sit at least 1 hour and up to 3 days at room temperature.

  2. Pate a choux puffs:

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring butter, sugar, salt, and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in flour with a wooden spoon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and a film forms on bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and beat with a mixer on low speed until cool, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and egg white, 1 at a time. Increase speed to medium and beat until a soft peak forms when you touch dough with your finger, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (Ateco #806). Pipe dough into thirty 1-to-1 1/4-inch mounds, 1 1/2 inches apart, on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Smooth tip of each mound with a moistened finger, then bake until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Choux puffs can be made 2 days ahead and stored in refrigerator, or frozen up to 1 month.

  3. Chocolate pastry cream:

    Place chocolate in a bowl and set a fine sieve over bowl. Bring milk and 1/3 cup sugar almost to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat. Whisk together egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in another bowl until thick, 2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and salt, then whisk to combine. Whisk in half of hot milk, then pour mixture into remaining milk in pan. Bring to a boil quickly, whisking very fast to prevent scorching, about 1 minute. Pour mixture through sieve over chocolate, then whisk to combine. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Pastry cream can be made up to 2 days ahead.

  4. Ricotta cream:

    Beat together ricotta, cream, sugar, orange zest, anisette, and salt with a mixer on medium-high speed until very thick and fluffy. Stir in chocolate and refrigerate until ready to use. Ricotta cream can be made up to 2 days ahead.

  5. Assembly:

    Place chocolate pastry cream in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip (Ateco #801). Make a small hole in bottom of each choux puff with a paring knife. Insert pastry-bag tip into hole in each puff and squeeze bag until puffs are completely filled with pastry cream. (See Cook's Notes.) Spread half of ricotta cream in a 12-to-16-cup trifle bowl. Top with half of marmalade, then sprinkle with half of dried fruit and soaking liquid. Top with 15 cream puffs. Repeat layering with remaining ricotta cream, marmalade, dried fruit, and cream puffs. Top with whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving.

    Linda Pugliese
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