Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Classic English Trifle

Some days, absolutely nothing goes right! Fortunately, some days we can make it right, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. And so we come to the Classic English Trifle I made for the disastrous Early Autumn Dinner Party I recently hosted. When I originally planned this dinner, Trifle wasn’t on the menu. In fact, what I’d planned to make was a simple Lemon Bundt Cake filled with Lemon Cream
The cake had a different idea, crumbling in my hands as I took it from the pan.

My dreams of making a cream-filled bundt crumbled with the broken cake. It was too late to make another, so I cubed and dried it in the oven, swinging into Plan B. Tip: If disaster strikes, always have a back-up plan.

Classic English Trifle:

Prepackaged custard sauce mix or vanilla pudding-and-pie filling mix
Enough cubed, dried white or yellow cake to fill the base and one layer of a Trifle dish 
⅓ c. dry sherry
⅓ c. raspberry jam
Assorted well-drained fruits of your choice
1 c. whipping cream
1 tbsp. icing sugar (“confectioners” or “powdered” sugar)
1 tbsp. whipping cream stabilizer 
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. blanched, flaked, toasted almonds (see Note)

Prepare custard or pie-filling mix as package directs. Set aside and cool to room temperature, about 30 min. Place half of dried, cubed cake in trifle dish, drizzling and tossing with sherry and dabbing with raspberry jam. Cover with half of custard. 

Cover custard with half a well-drained assortment of well-drained fruits (I used sliced, canned peaches and fresh raspberries and blueberries). Repeat layering once more, starting with cake. Cover top layer of fruit with whipped cream stiffly beaten with sugar, stabilizer, and vanilla (I prefer to flute the whipped cream onto the fruit from a pastry bag equipped with a star tip). Refrigerate 2-to-3 hr. Serves 8.

Note: In the photo, I decorated the stiffened cream with candied violets; slivered almonds are another good choice. See Index for How to Toast NutsSee Index for How to Stiffen or Stabilize Whipped Cream

Dry cubed cake at least 1 hr. in warm oven. A commercial  
mix requires longer drying time than a homemade cake

Drizzle and toss lightly with sherry

Dab cake with raspberry jam. Cover with half
custard and with fruit. Repeat layering.

Select a colorful array of soft fruit and berries

Flute with whipped cream, garnishing as desired

Tomorrow: Two posts: More Guidelines and Tips for entertaining, and a Chocolate Trifle that will knock your socks off! I didnt make it for this dinner party, but considering everything that went wrong, probably should have! It’s definitely one of my easiest, fanciest dinner party desserts!

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