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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easy Elegant Holiday Dessert

Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008, at 11:13 AM

That's What I'm Talkin' 'Bout!
You say you want to impress your guests but you just don't have time with all the holiday-related activities? Have I got a recipe for you.

It involves four major components--cake, pudding, fresh fruit, and whipped cream. You're liking this already, aren't you?

It's called an English Trifle, and has been around since the Rennaissance, and I don't mean the one where you eat turkey legs and old hippies are running around in ersatz "medieval" garb and faking British accents.

There are two sticking points, but we'll get to those (one involves booze and the other, how does one purty it up).

I'm gonna give you the Americanized version--you traditionalists can get out your Google.

Here's what you'll need--white or yellow unadorned sheet cake, fresh (or frozen) berries, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream. You could gussy it up with a banana or two, some port (or sweet) wine, and nutmeats. We Americans are anything but inflexible.

There's a device known as a trifle dish, which is basically a clear, footed bowl--not strictly necessary but it does lend itself the purtiness factor. You can find one (again with the Google), use a similar item (perhaps a smallish punch bowl), or make individual portions.

The rest is easy. Simply layer the aforementioned ingredients in your recently-acquired trifle bowl, plop on the table, and sit back and accept your accolades.

Now, I, being snobbish and a bit of a purist, bake the cake, make the pudding (and not from a box), combine the juices from the berries with the port and reduce that down on the stovetop, and whip up the cream.

Of course, there are things to consider, such as how long in advance can one prepare this, and how will it affect one's cholesterol level?

The answers are; up to several hours, and it can't possibly be good for your HDL count.

I've even prepared a "dark" version of the dish, substituting brownie (or chocolate cake), chopped Belgian chocolate, and Kahlua or creme de chocolate liqueur. Got's to keep the whipped cream in the mix--although you could flavor it with chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, or even Amaretto or Frangelico liqueurs.

Layer thusly: Booze (or juice)-soaked cake (day-old is dandy), pudding (or custard, or creme anglaise, or sabayon or zabaglione--I know, I'm just showing off now), fruit, and whipped cream (I don't want to even see a "whipped topping" container in your kitchen). Try to make the final layer be whipped cream. Throw on some slivered almonds and maybe some maraschinos and you are golden.

One final tip--use confectioner's sugar, real vanilla extract, and a pinch or two of unflavored gelatin in the cream to prevent it from going all Pakistan on you and destabilizing.

Easy-Peasy, lemon-squeezy! Merry Christmas.

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Playing with My Food
Steve Stacy
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