|Just a Trifle for Dessert|
Recipe by Robin
Seasonal Eating has just passed the 100,000 mark for individual pageviews. Thank you, readers! In celebration, here is a recipe from another recent celebration, the Celtic/UK Themed 50th Natal Anniversary of my friend Rox, an enthusiast of all things British, from King Arthur to Stonehenge to fine tea. As Ms. Rox was garbed in uncharacteristically royal attire (stitched up locally by the Royal Dressmaker, no less), this queenly dessert was perfect for the occasion. But let me back up. How many non-Brit readers have ever tasted a trifle or know how they’re made? If my research is any indicator, not many…including myself until just recently.
|With Extra Ladyfingers Lining Sides of Trifle Dish|
|Final Layer: Whipped Cream and Decoration|
|Very Important: Mix Milk and Custard Paste Well|
|Pouring the Last Custard Layer|
One final note: be sure to use enough alcohol. Even when cake layers smell alcoholic enough to make you a little lightheaded, remember that custard, fruit, and whipped cream will dilute the booze. Adding a touch of alcohol to the whipped cream layer adds subtle flavor and lovely aroma to the trifle. As always, feel free to get creative and/or adapt the recipe to use ingredients on hand. Enjoy, and thanks again for your readership!
serves about 20, for 10-cup dish
4 tbsp. Bird’s custard
2 tbsp. sugar
1 quart 2% fat milk
3 pints ripe strawberries
4 dozen ladyfinger biscuits (1 package) or ladyfingers
~1½ cups dry sherry, divided (can use part white wine)
1 pint whipping cream
~1 tsp. sugar
Custard layer prep:
I made the Bird’s custard first, to give it a little time to cool before adding it to the trifle. I also found that making the custard in two pint-sized batches, per instructions on container, made it less likely to burn,. Perhaps you are better at finessing larger quantities. I did not have good luck with the Bird’s microwave instructions.
Mix 2 tbsp. Bird’s custard with 1 tbsp. sugar in heat-proof bowl. Mix in 1 – 2 tbsp. milk taken from 1 pint. Stir vigorously into a smooth paste. Transfer remaining milk from pint to heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until almost boiling (don’t scald).
Pour hot milk into custard paste in bowl a little at a time, stirring constantly. Stir until well combined; the success of your custard depends upon thorough mixing.
Return custard to saucepan, and heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Repeat the process for the second custard layer.
Fruit layer prep:
Wash strawberries. Reserve about 5 of the largest, ripest, shapeliest to decorate the trifle top. Slice the remainder. Sweeten with a little sugar if under-ripe.
Biscuit or Cake layer prep:
Break biscuits or tear ladyfingers into ~1 inch bits.
Assembling the Trifle:
Place half of the biscuits or cake into the bottom of the trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. dry sherry or combination of sherry and white wine for milder taste.
Add sliced berry layer and press down gently to even it out.
Pour on 2 cups of custard.
Add second layer of remaining biscuits or cake. Sprinkle with ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. sherry and/or white wine.
Add second layer of strawberries. Many cooks like to place some of the strawberries upright along the edges of the trifle dish in this layer to show off the fruit and make the trifle look a bit fancier.
Add the second layer (2 cups) of custard.
Chill the trifle thoroughly, from 8 hours up to 24 hours.
Mix the cream with about ½ - 1 tsp. sugar and 2 – 4 tbsp. sherry. Taste and adjust amounts. Whip cream to form medium-stiff peaks. Drop or pipe onto trifle. If you don't have a pastry bag, fill a ziplock bag with the cream and zip closed. Cut a small hole in one corner, and squeeze the cream out onto the trifle.
Choose the most perfect strawberry and place in center of cream topping. Slice other reserved berries in half and place in pattern around center strawberry.