Thursday, September 18, 2008

Berry Delicious

I think we can all agree that berries are synonymous with summer. With autumn on our heals and the nights becoming a bit more crisp, we're being reminded that colder months are on their way.

One way I like to latch on to summer is by making a trifle, which is really just layers of cake, fruit, and whipped cream. Traditionally, it would also have custard and perhaps jelly in it. This is my half-assed version. It's a nice, fresh tasting, light dessert, that's so pretty you won't want to eat it. My mom makes trifle for just about every major dinner: 4th of July, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving... it just goes with everything. We had it after meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Besides, berries won't be in season much longer. Take advantage of them now! The trifle that I made only had strawberries (hey, I'm working on a budget and they were on sale!), but you can add raspberries, blackberries, peaches, bananas... any soft fruit that you can cut into a bite-sized piece.

Berry Trifle

1/2 Angel Food Cake Ring, sliced thin
2 lbs. Strawberries, cut into quarters and rinsed
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Kirshwasser (or other fruit brandy)
1/4 cup plus 2 tblsp. Sugar
A hand-full of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
You will need a trifle dish (see photo below).

1. In a medium bowl, mix berries, 1/4 cup of sugar, mint, and Kirshwasser. Let sit for (at least) ten minutes. (You can do this at any point before hand. The longer the berries marinate in the Kirsh and sugar, the better. The Kirsh and sugar will break them down a bit and make them syrupy.)

2. Take the slices of Angel Food Cake and line the bottom of your trifle dish. Pack them down.

3. Pour berry mixture on top of the Angel Food Cake.

4. In a mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and 2 tblsp. sugar. Beat them with an electric mixer (or whisk) until stiff peaks form. This means that when you stop beating the cream, and lift the whisk out, the cream will hold its form.

5. Spread whipped cream on top of the berries.

6. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips.

*Make this dessert ahead of time. That way, while you're eating, the Angel Food Cake will soak up the liquid from the berries and Kirsh. Just make sure you keep it in the fridge!


- If you wanted to make this more indulgent, you could do a few things differently. You could a) make your Angel Food Cake from scratch, b) add a layer of custard between the cake and the berries. This is how I would ideally make it. Custard is basically just cream, egg yolks, and sugar.

- Girls night out? Special dinner party? Instead of using a trifle dish, cut your cake even smaller and make individual trifles inside of martini glasses! This is another one of those things that looks impressive with very little effort!

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