No Trifling Dessert

The British invented trifle as a way to use up dried cake, by soaking it in sherry and adding jams. We may not be familiar with the concept of leftover cake, but we shouldn’t let the trifle slip away.

Coupled with custard and whipped cream and presented in a glass bowl, this is a decadent dessert that is gorgeous to look at, as well as rich and satisfying to the taste.

These days, a trifle is whatever you want it to be. You can use pound cake, ladyfingers, angel food cake; whole fruit, jams or fruit purees; custard or pudding; serve it in a large glass bowl or individual dessert dishes. Any way you layer it, you have a delicious dessert for the eye and stomach.

This trifle builds on the best of the Garden State — strawberries and blueberries — to create a delicious Jersey Trifle.

The Jersey Trifle
Makes 16 servings

BLUEBERRY LAYER
3 cups blueberries, divided in half
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon blueberry liqueur, optional

STRAWBERRY LAYER
3 cups strawberries, divided in half
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon strawberry liqueur, optional

LIGHT CUSTARD
4½ cups skim milk
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

TO ASSEMBLE
2 medium pound cakes, lemon
1 tablespoon blueberry liqueur
1 tablespoon strawberry liqueur

GARNISH
2 cups whipped cream
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup strawberries

1. Puree 1½ cups blueberries in a food processor. Pour through a sieve to remove seeds. Add sugar and liqueur, if using. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. (Can be made two days in advance.) Reserve the remaining blueberries for use later.

2. Repeat using 1½ cups strawberries. Reserve remaining strawberries.

3. Using a double boiler, heat four cups of the milk until steam rises from it.

4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, ½ cup milk, sugar and cornstarch together until smooth.

5. Remove the milk from the heat. Very carefully, add the milk mixture to the egg mixture while beating constantly. Pour the custard mixture through a sieve back into the top of the double boiler and whisk constantly over medium heat until very thick and smooth, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Place plastic wrap directly onto the custard and allow to cool.

6. Cut the pound cake into 2-inch cubes. Arrange half the cake on the bottom of the trifle bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the strawberry liqueur on the cake pieces. Evenly pour the strawberry mixture over the cake pieces. Arrange strawberries evenly in a layer, especially around sides. Spoon half the custard over berries. Repeat with remaining cake, liqueur, blueberry purée, blueberries and custard. Cover and chill at least 4 hours and up to one day ahead. Garnish with whipped cream and additional berries in the center just before serving.

Photography by Lori Maffei.

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