Just a little Trifle!

Chocolate berry trifle | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The trifle acts as the perfect vehicle for cleaning out your refrigerator/freezer of all those tasty little treats you just had to hang on to. I am guilty of an overstuffed freezer. It must be my pastry chef days of NO waste, ever. It is something I am both proud of and annoyed by, because it means I have dozens, or more, of incredibly well wrapped packages of buttercream, truffles, cake, cookie dough, puff pastry and just about everything else you could ever want. BUT, there really isn’t enough of any one thing to make a full dessert, except trifle. Add some of the frozen berries from last summer, a touch of sherry and rich pastry cream to those too-good-to-throw-out cake scraps and you have a gorgeous dessert and less stuff in your freezer. Not sure why this essential dessert is named trifle, when it is clearly nothing shy of brilliant.

This all came about because I am trying to eat down my refrigerator before we leave for our trip. Next week I take off for Istanbul, Greece and Italy and the contents of my refrigerator will be much less charming when I return in a month. Some things will be left for the house-sitter, but the random packages in the freezer are something I’d rather they read about on my blog than see in real life.

While making this trifle, with a mind of not wasting anything at all, I discovered that I could use the left over egg whites to lighten up my pastry cream, instead of the customary whip cream, which doesn’t really “lighten up” anything. Since the pastry cream uses mostly egg yolks, I had the whites just sitting around. Whipped up and folded in, they make the most exquisite textured custard I’ve ever had. This pastry cream recipe is destined for eclairs when I return!

And the winners of the King Arthur Flour Brownie giveaway are…Kay, Kristin, Sarah, Cristie, Paula, Tammy, Michelle, Lynette, Heather and Krista! Thank you ALL for the wonderful comments, King Arthur is no doubt thrilled to hear you sing such praises for their products, which I might add, they deserve!

Chocolate Berry Trifle:

1 recipe of your favorite cake or all of the scraps left in your freezer. I used Devil’s Food.

1 recipe vanilla pastry cream

2 large egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups fresh or frozen berries

2 tablespoons raspberry preserves

1/4 sherry

1 cup fresh, unsweetened, whip cream for the top.

Fresh strawberries for top

To make the trifle:

prepare the pastry cream

Make the meringue to lighten the pastry cream:

Whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Rest the bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all the sugar is off the sides of the bowl. Continue to stir the mixture until all the sugar is melted into the eggs and you no longer feel any graininess when rubbed between your fingers, about 3-5 minutes.

Whipped meringue on a whisk | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Place the bowl onto your mixer and whisk on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy and the bowl is just warmer than room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Folding meringue into pastry cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Stir the pastry cream to loosen it, add the meringue and fold it in.

Stirring pastry cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Until it is light and fluffy. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Prepare the berries:

In a medium sauce pan heat the raspberry preserves until melted, add the sherry and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and add the fresh or frozen berries, stir to coat. Let the berries sit for about 10-15 minutes so they will release some of their juices.

Empty Weck jars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I used these beautiful Weck Jars, each one is about 4 cups. You can also use a classic Trifle Bowl.

Cake in Weck jars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fill each of the jars or bowl with a layer of cake.

Pastry cream and cake in Weck jars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using a spoon or a Pastry Bag fitted with a large round tip, add a layer of the pastry cream to top the cake.

Cake, pastry cream and berries in Weck jars | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Spoon on a layer of berries and be sure to use the juices.

Chocolate berry trifle | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Repeat with more cake, pastry cream and berries, until you’ve used everything up. I whipped up some fresh cream to top the trifle…

Chocolate berry trifle | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add a perfect fresh strawberry and serve well chilled.

Chocolate berry trifle | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

These jar are perfect for a picnic or backyard party.

Chocolate berry trifle | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

and the tops are wide enough to be easy to scoop from. Enjoy!

27 thoughts to “Just a little Trifle!”

  1. What a great way to reinvent leftovers. I wish I had your freezer of ingredients to draw on–I have some fresh peaches I froze last summer, I wonder if they’d still be good and I could add them in.

    Have fun on your trip–Turkey and Greece happen to be two of my favorite food destinations. Don’t miss the apple tea in Turkey.

    1. Oh wow, thanks MyKidsEatSquid for the apple tea recommendation. I will be sure not to miss it!

      BTW, my kids eat squid too! 😉

      Cheers, Zoë

  2. Zoe – have a good trip. I am looking forward to some trip inspired Greek, Turkish, etc recipes on your return or better yet post on the go. Either way enjoy your time and enjoy some good eats on your trip. I always enjoy your posts but sadly have only gotten around to trying a few recipes.

  3. Beautiful dessert! What a great idea. Also don’t miss getting lovely turkish scarves and shawls (if you are a shawl or scarf person) and don’t miss the spice markets( since I know you ARE a spice person.)

  4. This was over-the-top delicious. Even my husband, who takes some perverse pride in not eating desserts, could not resist. And the presentation in the glass jar with top was — all that.

  5. Hey, Missy! Have a wonderful vacation. You have certainly earned it. Your trifles are beautiful — and I was tickled to see that link for the raspberry preserves. 🙂 The season has begun and I am not mentally prepared for it yet. Eeek. I love your use of the Weck jars! Hmmm, I might have something like those around here. . . .

  6. I’m not exactly sure how I found you, but I am honored to live in the same state as you! I think your little jars for trifles is so fun!
    This might have to be a summertime activity to use with my girls who LOVE to help in the kitchen. And what a great use of all those jars we have around the house! And I’m talking LOTS and LOTS of jars!

  7. Hi Zoe
    love your blog … and recipes … at the moment i am trying my culinary skills on pastries and tarts etc … till date was into cakes and frostings .
    trifle looks delicious in the jars …lovely presentation .! and an even wonderful idea to utilise leftover creams, cakes and icings ,etc.
    Enjoy your Holiday !

  8. Hi lady! Beautiful post!! I love the spoon and the jars! 😉 I can only imagine the tasty bits inside!! Looks fabulous! xo J

  9. Dear Zoe,
    Could you please give me good fool proof recipe for fondant icing. We live on a small Greek Island and ready made fondants and gum pastes etc are unavailable to us. I have made a fondant icing using corn syrup, egg white and icing sugar that has been okay but gets very sticky to use in the summer heat (even with fans and air con) As my husband small yacht charter business I have recently been asked to make Anniversary cakes and Birthday cakes. It would seem that people think because I can make great meals it goes without saying that I can decorate cakes!!!! So as not to disappoint I have made a couple, and made roses etc to decorate them. Another thing that concerns me is how long can I keep a cake ie Madiera – iced before it will start to go bad? As I have read it is a bad idea to refridgerate. Although obviously we have a fridge on the yacht.
    I hope you have had a lovely holiday and return home relaxed and revived.
    Best wishes
    A very nervous scholar

    1. Hi Nicki,

      This is the recipe I have had the best results with: http://zoebakes.com/?p=1059. Let me know if you have any questions about it. You will certainly have to use a lot of cornstarch to roll it out to prevent sticking in the heat/humidity of Greece.

      We’ve had a wonderful holiday, but wish that we had stayed on an island in Greece. Next time! 😉

      Thanks and enjoy, Zoe

  10. I love how you served them in uneven and diverse jam jars.
    And what a neat idea to lighten up the pastry cream with whipped whites.
    In the summer I love trifle with summer fruits (peaches, apricots, plums…).

  11. This is so inspiring! I went strawberry picking this week and would love to make a trifle this weekend. I’m going to use your Aunt Kris’s cake recipe, your pastry cream lightened with meringue, and maybe some framboise for soaking the cake. Is there a specific ratio I should try to stick to, or can I just improvise? Thanks!

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