Planning ahead or short on time, this Thanksgiving trifle Is your go-to dessert.  

If you want to astonish your friends and family with a beautiful and elegant dessert, this Cranberry Dreamsicle Trifle is the recipe you need to make. If you need to prepare a dish in advance and store it in the fridge, this cranberry trifle is also the recipe you need to make. And, if you are unsure of your baking skills and don’t want to risk a culinary disaster during the holidays, this is definitely the recipe to make.

This trifle dessert, with its delicious blend of seasonal cranberry and orange flavors, is visually stunning and will look beautiful on your dessert sideboard. That should be reason enough to add this to your holiday menu. However, what makes this recipe even more appealing is the very nature of a trifle: it is easy to put together, whether you want to make it in advance or the day of your party.

Two main elements of this recipe can be made in advance, and another element uses a store-bought ingredient. The fruity cranberry mixture, which takes less than 30 minutes to cook, can be made up to 4 days before your meal; store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the trifle. The orange pastry cream also comes together quickly; be sure to use whole milk, not low-fat milk, and follow directions carefully to achieve that silky smooth texture. The orange pastry cream can be stored up to 3 days before assembling the trifle. This recipe calls for a frozen pound cake, such as Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake, but you can also use one from the bakery section of your grocery store. Some cooks prefer to use a homemade pound cake, and a trifle is a nice way to use up leftover pound cake slices (is there even such a thing as leftover pound cake?) We like homemade whipped cream for the crowning touch; feel free to substitute your favorite commercial whipped topping if you don’t want to make your own.

A trifle bowl is the ideal vessel to show off the beautiful layers of this dessert. For a different presentation, layer individual servings in wine goblets or mason jars. Garnish with shaved white chocolate, sugared cranberries, or fragrant sprigs of rosemary.