May I have dessert?

After I posted a pic of this strawberry & cream trifle I made for Easter brunch, I had a couple recipe requests. Since it wasn’t the shortest recipe to type out, thought I’d share it here too. Be warned, this is a two-recipe dessert. The pastry cream needs at least 3 hours to chill before layering into the trifle, while the dessert also needs 3 hours to blend flavors and chill before serving. I made my pastry cream the afternoon before Easter, then put it all together later that night. 12 hours later, it was perfect for serving.

Warning: The trifle was huge! My guests were polite and tried to take seconds, but most were too full from the Easter brunch meal. Even with six guys doing their bests, we only ate about 1/3 of this on Easter day. Great for potlucks, crowds and dessert parties where you know it will be eaten (hard to keep after another day).

First Trifle

Beautiful Strawberry and Cream Trifle
…from “Icebox Desserts” by Lauren Chattman

Pastry Cream: Makes 4 cups, Time: 20 minutes + 3 hours chill

4 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
5 large eggs
5 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces (1 stick)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Combine half and half, 3/4 c. sugar & salt in large heavy saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently

2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together eggs, cornstarch, 1/4 c. sugar until pale yellow and smooth, about 1 minute.

3. When half-and-half mixture simmers, remove from heat and gradually whisk it into egg mixture. Go slowly and whisk constantly so as not to curdle eggs. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat. Whisk constantly, just until a few bubbles break through the surface and mixture has thickened and is shiny, 1-2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, one piece at a time, and the vanilla. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the hot pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours, up to 2 days.

Strawberry & Cream Trifle:
Serves 12 (empty stomachs!). Time: 25 minutes, plus 3+ hours to chill and 10 minutes before serving.

1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 c. Grand Marnier or orange liqueur (optional)
4 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 c. orange marmalade or strawberry jam
One 10-12 oz store bought pound cake or homemade (err on side of more, not less)
1 recipe (4 cups) Pastry Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 small fresh strawberries for garnish

1. Bring the water, 1/4 c. of the sugar and Grand Marnier, if using, to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Let cool

2. In a large bowl, gently toss berries with marmalade or jam to coat

3. Cut pound cake into 12 slices, arrange on baking sheet (cutting board) and brush each lightly with sugar syrup. Cut each slice into 6 cubes.

4. Tightly arrange one-third of cubes in bottom of trifle bowl or large souffle dish. Spread one-third of pastry cream on top of cake cubes, smoothing with rubber spatula. Arrange one-third of berry mixture on top of pastry cream. Repeat twice, finishing with three layers each of cake, cream and berries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.

6. When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream in a medium size bowl, using an electric mixer, with 1/4 c. sugar and vanilla until it just holds stiff peaks. Spread over top of trifle and top with whole strawberries and serve immediately.

May I have dessert?