Posts Tagged ‘trifle’
At once blowsily moreish and decadently raffiné–like a freshly unmade bed at Claridge’s–trifle is the quintessenstial English dessert of summer. While summer pudding and Eton mess may come close, they don’t quite hold a candle to the trifle’s layers of boozy cake, soft fruit, rich custard, and whipped cream.
And when it’s presented in the traditional tall glass serving bowl, few desserts can command the attention of a trifle. Perfect for special summery parties closer to home… with all the cream and custardy goodness, trifle doesn’t travel all that well, so keep it it mind for those celebrations that don’t involve much movement from the grill or patio.
Of course, being me, I’ve made several fairly sacrilegious alterations to the basic English original. As with most American adaptations, I used pound cake, which is richer than the fairly lean sponge cake or savoiardi (ladyfingers) Mr. T says are de rigeur in the UK. I generally don’t have sherry on hand, so I sneak in a bit of port instead. And, while I was at it, I took advantage of the seasonally harmonious harvest of strawberries and rhubarb to get a bit more fruit in there as well.
As is usual, Mr. T just shook his head when I started arranging the strawberries with crazed precision around the sides of the bowl. But frankly, if I am going to make custard from scratch (which also merited an eye roll, but I am NOT going to use something from a tin, even if it is authentic), it’s going to be pretty too, dammit. Of course, it’s delicious too, and that’s really what matters.
Because I am slightly dumb, and nothing if not ambitious, I recently elected to invite people over for dinner the night before I left for a conference. That would be the slightly dumb part. Of course, I could not merely suggest that we go out; that would be the ambitious bit. After years of painfully-earned experience, however, I have learned that reality tends to intervene–the nerve! So, I had to come up with a tasty menu that I could shop for, prep, and get on the table between leaving the office and the arrival of my delightful guests. (Did I mention that I had elected to go out for drinks and then watch two hours of Futurama on Thursday night? Dumb, dumb, dumb.)
It was also hot hot hot (as Nanny would say), so I turned to my trusty Salade Niçoise to provide a bright and savory–yet cooling–entree. I also picked up some nice cheese and nuts to create a snacking buffer so no one would starve whilst I banged out the salad’s components. It’s merely a matter of keeping a pot of water on the boil for the eggs, potatoes and beans, and then cutting everything else up, though, so dinner was in the bag. Dessert, however, still necessitated some attention… and ambition.