Lemon Trifle

There are many great things about the month of December, and one of those are the wonderful treats that surround you everywhere you go. With all of the peppermint, chocolate, fudge, truffles, brownies, candy, and cookies I was consuming throughout the entire month of December, I was craving something lighter in flavor and richness for my family's Christmas day dessert. This is where the idea to make a Lemon Trifle came about.

The yummy lemon flavor in this trifle comes from half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest. The citrus pop is refreshing on the tongue and is a nice change from the rich flavors of chocolate, peppermint, and gingerbread that are popular around the holiday season. The lady finger cookies soaked in limonchello enhanced the lemon flavors and added a bit of texture to the pudding and whipped cream. Garnish the trifle with a few cherries and and more lemon zest to add a pop of color and you have yourself a delicious dessert that won't feel too heavy or filling.

This recipe makes a smaller trifle with two sets of three layers, but if you want to make a really impressive dessert just double the recipe and you will see lots of layers of lady fingers, pudding, and whipped cream. Whether you need a break from a chocolate overload or are craving a citrus-y dessert, this Lemon Trifle is an easy dessert to make that will give you a good dose of fresh lemon flavor.

Lemon Trifle (pudding adapted from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures)
(8-10 servings)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cornstarch
2 1/2 cups skim milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
24 lady finger cookies
optional: 1/2 cup limoncello

Put a large mixing bowl and beaters to a mixer in the freezer to chill.

In a large saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and milk. Heat over medium, stirring frequently until mixture starts to thicken. Add about a cup of the mixture to the beaten egg yolks and whisk ingredients together. This tempers the eggs. Add the egg mixture to the saucepan and whisk ingredients together. Continue stirring until pudding comes to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pudding from heat. Stir in butter, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Cool pudding to room temperature and then cover the pudding with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to cool.

Remove the mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Add the whipping cream to the chilled bowl. Beat on high for a minute until cream begins to thicken. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Continue to beat on high until the cream is very thick and has stiff peaks.

Layer half of the lady fingers in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Sprinkle half of the limoncello on top of the lady fingers. Layer half of the chilled pudding on top of the lady finger cookies. Spread half of the whipped cream on top of the pudding. Repeat layers, ending with whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, garnish with lemon peel and maraschino cherries.

Print this recipe!

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 375.2
Total Fat: 22.2 g
Cholesterol: 157.9 mg
Sodium: 231.3 mg
Total Carbs: 29.4 g
Fiber: 0.2 g
Sugars: 30.2 g
Protein: 5.4 g

-Beautiful presentation
-Light, refreshing, flavorful dessert
-Easy to make and assemble (use boxed pudding to reduce time spent in the kitchen)
-Versatile-make different pudding flavors and use different cookies/cakes to layer in the trifle

-High in fat and calories (consider using low fat or fat free Cool Whip instead of heavy whipping cream)
-Must be prepared in advance to refrigerate overnight



  1. I am a huge sucker for lemon desserts Elaine! BEtween this trifle and your skinny spin dip - I don't know which I'd want to make first. You had a tastier holiday that I did! love the little maraschino cherries on top. Gorgeous dessert!

    1. I don't believe that for one second! With all of the yummy treats you blog about, I'm sure your holiday was full of tasty snacks and desserts. But I'm definitely a fan of the food that I ate over the holidays and now they are a few new favorite recipes!

  2. It's funny I don't think that I like lemon, but I love lemon bars and lemon cake haha! I'm fan of all things triffle, so this looks pretty yummy as well!

    1. I'm the same way, Emily. I don't think I like lemon/citrus-y desserts, but then I love this trifle, lemon bars, and lemon cookies too! Go figure. Guess we all need a break from chocolate every once in a while. :)

  3. I'm tired of all these Christmas cookies and plum pudding. I want some of this trifle. Can you put it in a box and send it to me? (I'll supply the bowl.)

    1. How about you come on up to D.C. and I'll make you your very own trifle!!! :)


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