Caramel Apple Trifles

A Fall trifle that’s perfect for any Thanksgiving feast. Each layer comes together with minimal effort and fully assembled this trifle makes an impressive presentation. Caught in between the layers you will find a light and ethereal caramel mousse that’s been layered with a burnt caramel sauce to accompany the crisp apple crumble. Adding another dimension to the apple crumble are chopped raw apples for a tart and fruity bite. Together all these components create a symphonic collaboration of textures and flavors.

Caramel Apple Trifle

If you follow me on Facebook then you know I put out a query for a preference on easy elegance or fancy desserts that require a little more time. No surprise that easy elegance won. That being the case, I figured what could be easier than a trifle. Easy to make, full of flavor and always an attention grabber, I decided to dress up my latest trifle with a Fall profile.

The Aftermath I

I know some people really make themselves go crazy with making a Thanksgiving meal, but I hate being crazy, I hate being rushed and I hate being stressed. Mindful of that, over the years I’ve learned to simplify my holiday dishes to things I can make in advance and to keeping my desserts simple on these days.

This Caramel Apple Trifle definitely fits that bill with its fuss-free preparation and easy-to-make components and assembly.

Now that the request for easy elegance is done, stay tuned for the fancy dessert I’ll be posting on Sunday.

The Aftermath II

A few notes:

  • Trifles are highly adaptable, so if mousse is not your thing try pudding or even yogurt, although using the latter sometimes flips the name to parfait.
  • To keep the crumble crisp, do not assemble trifle more than 2 hours in advance.
  • I highly recommend making homemade caramel sauce. The flavors are much deeper especially if you take the caramel to the dark amber stage and it is comparatively less sweet tasting. But if you must shortcut it, I beg you DO NOT use the Hershey’s caramel sauce-it’s overly sweet. For a store brought shortcut try Marzetti’s Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (usuallyfound next to the apples in the produce section of most stores). Yes-I did some taste testing, so I’m speaking from my taste buds to yours.
  • The glasses I used for these trifles are from Bormioli Rocco, style Ypsilon and size 3 1/2 oz.

Caramel Apple Trifle

Caramel Apple Tifles

Makes approximately eight 3 1/2 oz servings


Caramel Mousse:

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus caramel (recipe follows)

Caramel Sauce:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoons of kosher salt

Apple Crumble:

  • ½ cup diced fresh apples
  • ½  cup apple chips
  • ½ cup crumbled granola


Caramel Mousse:

  1. Place chilled heavy cream in a bowl and using a whisk or a  hand held mixer on medium speed or medium strength (for stand mixers use a low setting with the whisk attachment). Beat cream until soft peaks form and cream is light and fluffy. Gently fold in caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:

1. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a dark amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add salt and stir to combine.

Apple Crumble:

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.


  1. Fill two pastry bags, one with the mousse and the other pastry bag with caramel.
  2. Pipe a mousse layer onto bottom of glass.
  3. Pipe a second layer with caramel on top of the mousse.
  4. For the third layer, sprinkle the apple crumble mixture on top of the caramel layer.
  5. Continue layering by repeating steps 2-4.
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26 Responses to “Caramel Apple Trifles”

  1. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — November 17, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

    another gorgeous dessert! amazing! i’d say that easy elegance describes these to a tee! definitely saving this for when i get to host my first thanksgiving. would you mind sharing where you got those adorable spoons? :) thanks!


  2. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — November 17, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    oh my, this is wonderful!


  3. #
    Carolyn — November 17, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    Those are so gorgeous, Naomi. I think easy elegance should always win. I get overwhelmed by super fancy desserts with lots of elements.


  4. #
    Nadine — November 17, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

    These are so tasty looking and so beautiful like all your other desserts.


  5. #
    Karyn — November 18, 2011 @ 2:30 am

    Wow! Beautiful! Love your work!


  6. #
    Cynthia — November 18, 2011 @ 2:56 am

    Oh, how I love thee! Your desserts are delish looking and just beautiful.


  7. #
    Eren Mckay — November 18, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    I’m just like you. I love having beautiful and tasty things but I can’t stand being rushed and stressed out. I try to plan things ahead of time as much as I can to prevent that anxious feeling.
    This Carmel Apple Trifle looks like something my kids would thoroughly enjoy.
    Thanks for the step by step. I’ll try to find the ingredients here to put it together.
    All the best,


  8. #
    Tony Scott — November 18, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    I am a fan of great desserts, and this recipe looks perfect to me. I am going to try this one at home. Thanks for the share!


  9. #
    Sara — November 20, 2011 @ 7:09 am

    This is Thanksgiving perfect!


  10. #
    Kim — November 21, 2011 @ 1:25 am

    Wondering what the best way would be to transport this dessert to a friend’s house for the holidays? Do you think I could make all the layers before hand and assemble there, or should I make the crumble and the caramel ahead of time and make the mousse just before assembling?


    • Naomi replied: — November 22nd, 2011 @ 12:28 am

      Kim-If I were you, I would make this in a jar for easy transport. Then maybe tie twine around it for a dressed up, but rustic feel.


  11. #
    Kathy - Panini Happy — November 23, 2011 @ 5:49 am

    Those are just gorgeous, Naomi! I have a severe weakness for homemade caramel.


  12. #
    Nevine @ Tableya — November 23, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    I am in love with this recipe. I’m not a big fan of the classic lady finger and fruit trifle so this is the perfect alternative for me.


  13. #
    Kim — November 29, 2011 @ 12:06 am

    Thanks Naomi! The trifles were a huge hit. This is really a great recipe, especially if you like texture with the granola, mousse and caramel. Easy to make, just takes a little time to assemble the layers. This is a keeper!


  14. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — September 30, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    These are just positively beautiful Naomi! Wow!


  15. #
    SUSANNE — August 24, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    this looks like something elegant and easy — and gluten free! — for my Bunco group in the fall. dumb question: what are apple chips?


  16. #
    Heather — January 19, 2014 @ 11:33 am

    I really don’t like it when recipes do not include nutritional information. I’m a health coach and looking for things to share with my clients and that info is ALWAYS important!


  17. #
    Rita — September 18, 2014 @ 7:50 am

    Thank you for the recipe, it looks amazing! Just wondering… can the heavy cream in the caramel mousse be replaced for something else?


  18. #
    lauren boland — November 19, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

    These look really yummy – can they be made ahead of time – will the caramel and the mousse stay well in the fridge for a day or two before serving?


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