Tuesday, March 16, 2010

English Berry Trifle

When spring approaches, I'm all over dishes that include fresh berries. Here is one that I'm sure you and your friends will enjoy. It's called an English berry trifle. I often serve it on Easter Sunday. A proper English trifle is made with real egg custard poured over sponge cake soaked in fruit and sherry and topped with whipped cream. To make it you ideally need a large glass trifle bowl, but as you can see from the photo, you might already have a large glass dish that will nicely service this purpose. The English trifle has a fascinating history, which I won't go into here but I encourage you to read.

You can make a trifle using any number of ingredients, but the common elements to all trifles are cake (of some type, preferably stale), custard, whipped cream, and sherry or brandy.

Cut the stale pound cake into thick slices of equal size (about 8 pieces in all, or enough to make two layers in your bowl. Arrange the cake slices in your large glass bowl to completely cover the bottom (cutting pieces to patch if necessary.) Heat some berry jam briefly in the microwave so it pours and spreads easily. Spread half of the jam over the bottom layer of cake, then sprinkle with some slivered almonds and coconut. Sprinkle with brandy to moisten and set aside.

Clean and slice strawberries, and wash blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Drain and sprinkle with sugar and set aside.

Prepare a custard. (The full detailed recipe can be found on my Facebook Recipe Binder.) Once cool, pour half of the custard over the cake in the bowl. Using a slotted spoon, place half of the berry mixture on top of the custard. Make another cake layer, the same as the first using the other half of the ingredients, topping it with custard and berries as you did the previously layer. Whip the heavy cream with sugar and add a little vanilla. Spoon half of the whipped cream on the top of the last layer of berries. Place the remaining whipped cream in a pastry bag and decorate the top. Garnish as desired either now, or just before serving time. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least half a day or more before serving.

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