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Sunday, November 14, 2010
Food: Would I Trifle With You??
Would I trifle, with you?? Of course I would....if it was a delicious trifle like this one!
One of my favorite desserts to make for parties, especially at the holidays, is a trifle.
A trifle is a dessert dish often made from custard, fruit, sponge cake, gelatin and whipped cream. The ingredients are usually arranged in layers into a large glass footed bowl, which is usually called a trifle bowl. Some trifle recipes include a small portion of alcohol, usually a sweet sherry, port or Madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions may have fruit juices or gelatins to moisten the sponge cake layers.
The trifle evolved from a similar old-fashioned English dessert known as fool or foole. The name derives from the French word "fouler", to crush.
A fool is usally made with some kind of berry fruit, like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Stock photo of Strawberry Fool, from the internet.
For the fruit and custard trifle pictured above, I use a home-made custard and home-made pound cake instead of sponge cake. The layers of berries juice up nicely with some sugar and rum and will moisten up the layers of pound cake.
Here's how I make it:
4 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until pale and well blended. Pour the cream into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Gradually add the hot cream to the egg mixture while whisking. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until just boiling and very thick (about 4 minutes). Pour into a clean bowl and stir in vanilla. Scrape down the sides and gently press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled--about 2 hrs, or up to overnight.
6 cups mixed berries, such as raspberries,blackberries, blueberries and halved strawberries
3 Tbl dark rum or sweet sherry
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbl sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
6 slices pound cake, each 1/2 inch thick.
custard (recipe above)
In a large bowl, toss together the berries, the rum, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons sugar until well mixed. Cut each pound cake slice into eight pieces. Arrange half the cake pieces snugly in the bottom of trifle bowl or a 2 1/2 qt serving bowl (preferably clear so you can see the layers!). Spoon half the berries and juices over the pound cake slices. Pour half of the chilled custard over the fruit. Top with another layer of pound cake, berries, and the remaining custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to one day. Just before serving, top with whipped cream and garnish with sliced almonds.
I don't care for store-bought pound cake, so if you're like me and would like to make your own, here's my recipe, which is quite delicious.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus extra for greasing
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, room temp.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease an 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan; dust with flour. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until blended. In another bowl, using a mixer on medium to med-high speed, beat together butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until just blended. Sprinkle half the flour mixture over the egg mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the sour cream, then sprinkle with the remaning flour mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
Pour batter into loaf pan and tap gently on the counter to even out and settle ingredients. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; about 70 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan and invert the cake onto a wire rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake on one of it's sides and continue cooling.