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!