Every New Year's Eve, I host a house party. My young college roommates (they might read this, I don't dare call them old) come for a visit, and we spend a couple of days in our pajamas catching up, eating, watching movies, and relaxing. We gussy up a bit for New Year's Eve, though, and I always try to make a show stopper dessert. For some reason, I had trifle on my mind, and when one of my guests suggested it, I thought that must be an omen.
After this, I plan to make it a lot more often. Seriously, cake, jam, fruit, pudding and whipped cream? What's not to like? Does anyone remember the Friends episode where Rachel made trifle but used peas and beef in addition to everything else?
Now, let's face it, you can buy the basic components ready made: sponge cake, pudding, whipped cream. But they're just not hard to make at home. And trifle is so forgiving that they don't have to come out pretty! Even a cake that falls apart will taste every bit as good in a trifle.
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup gently warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Cover the bottom of a 9-inch pan (I used a springform pan) with parchment paper. DO NOT grease the pan.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt with a fork or a mini-whisk. Set aside.
Separate the eggs. Beat the three egg yolks with the sugar and gradually beat in the water. They will turn lighter in color and become thick. Beat in the vanilla. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the eggs.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. When combined, add the second 1/3. Finally fold in the last 1/3. (Eyeball it, 1/3 is just a guideline.) Pour into prepared pan and spread. Bake 45 minutes.
When you remove the cake from the oven, invert it on a cooling rack. Let it cool before you loosen the edges and remove.
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups milk (can be nonfat)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a heavy-bottomed pan, mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt with a whisk. Pour in the milk and stir, using a whisk as a spoon. Stirring, bring to a slow boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Lightly whisk the two eggs. While whisking them, add a few drops of the hot pudding to temper them. Add more, whisking. Then add the eggs to the pot while stirring the pudding. Bring to a slow boil again, stirring, for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat the cream. When it begins to take shape, add the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until it holds a firm peak.
Mix and match these depending on what you like and what is available.
32 ounces fresh strawberries
16 ounces raspberries
8 ounces blueberries
Hull the strawberries and slice in half.
1/4 cup strawberry jam
Slice the sponge cake in half so you have two 1-inch cakes. Trim one piece so it fits the bottom of the trifle dish. Spread it with half the jam. Use the largest strawberries to line the trifle dish, cut side toward the glass. Add half the pudding to the middle. Place smaller strawberries on top of the pudding. Top with cream. Repeat the process, except this time, before adding the jam, pour the Chambord over the cake layer, then add the jam.
On the top layer of cream, arrange the raspberries and blueberries. There's no magic to this. Do what you think is pretty.
Serve and enjoy!
|The egg yolks will be thick and light in color.|
|Stand the outer strawberries against the bowl.|
|Decorate the top with berries.|