Strawberry Trifle with Sichuan Pepper, Maple Syrup, and Almond Cookies

Masterchef Canada judge Alvin Leung serves up a delicious trifle treat for the holidays that's sure to impress your guests!

Serves 4


  • 1 (1 pound) fresh pound cake
  • 1/3 cup amaretto liqueur
  • 2 Chinese almond cookies

  • Marinated strawberries:
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1/3 cup grade A maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • Granulated sugar (optional)

  • Whipped cream:
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup icing sugar


  1. In a small saucepan, bring maple syrup and Sichuan peppercorns to a simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Chill mixing bowl and whisk attachment for electric mixer in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In a small shallow casserole dish, toss the strawberries with the infused maple syrup and let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. After the strawberries have marinated, check for sweetness, adding sugar if desired.
  4. Add heavy cream to chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream to soft peaks. Add the vanilla and icing sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  5. Using a serrated knife, slice pound cake lengthwise into four ½-inch thick slices. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from each cake slice.
  6. Line up highball glasses. Brush each cake round with amaretto liqueur and place one in the bottom of each glass.
  7. Add 2 tbsp of marinated strawberries to each glass and spread evenly. Using a different tablespoon, add a large dollop of whipped cream and spread evenly. Add a second layer of amaretto-brushed cake to each glass, pressing down lightly. Add 2 tablespoons of marinated strawberries and spread evenly. Top with a large dollop of whipped cream, spreading evenly.
  8. Cover trifles with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an impromptu indulgence, keeping in mind that it will store for up to 2 days.
  9. To serve, remove and discard plastic wrap. Grate Chinese almond cookie on top.
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