Saturday, July 6, 2013

Birthday Summer Berry Trifle

Raise your hand if you've ever made your own birthday dessert and been scolded for it! (Cue: Me, raising my hand, half-ashamed, but mostly quite proud to confess such a crime). My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I had just received my Cook's Illustrated magazine in the mail containing this AMAZING recipe.  There was no way I could pass up an opportunity to make this dessert.  Plus, I was definitely a spoiled birthday girl, despite making my own "cake". In addition to flowers from my boss, coffee from another friend, several cards, gift cards, and love, 

I got new TOMS from my wonderful in-laws (pair #4! We can discuss this obsession at a later date, maybe NOT on a food blog...) :

Flowers and Moonstruck Chocolates (Salted Caramel - YUM) from my love:
The most perfect birthday card and a coupon for a birthday date from my best friend:
And birthday cake pancakes of course!

Okay, I'm sure you really are not interested in seeing pictures that do not pertain to this trifle, so let's move on... 

This recipe seemed fairly daunting at first, but after putting in the work, I realized it's actually quite simple.  I will warn you, however, that it took up quite a bit of time... It's going to take you 5 hours just to read the long recipe (just kidding, but really...). Make sure you have a few hours that you can dedicate to this process.  You'll mostly be sitting around waiting... Waiting for the custard to set, waiting for the cake to bake, waiting for the cake to cool, and then test your patience evenmore by  waiting until the next day to dive into it.  Trust me. You'll be happy you did!

One last side note... I was a bit concerned that the cream sherry would be an overwhelming flavor, especially for my birthday guests who do not drink alcohol.  Letting it chill overnight is the key in balancing the flavor.  They didn't even taste the sherry until I said there was alcohol in it!  You should be able to find cream sherry in the wine section of a grocery store, but if you can't, you can stir 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar into 1/2 cup of dry sherry.

serves 12 to 16

Pastry Cream:
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks (reserve whites for cake)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large egg whites (reserved from pastry cream)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Fruit Filling:
1 1/2 pounds (4 cups) strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces, reserving 3 halved for garnish
12 oz. (2 1/2 cups) blackberries, large berries halved crosswise, reserving 3 whole for garnish
12 oz. (2 1/2 cups) raspberries, reserving 3 for garnish
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch salt

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup cream sherry


Pastry Cream:

1. Heat 3 cups milk in medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.  Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in medium bowl.  Whisk remaining 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks into sugar mixture until smooth.  Remove milk from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add 1 cup to sugar mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered sugar mixture to milk in sauce pan.

2. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is very thick and bubble burst on surface, 4 to 7 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated.  Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl.  Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.


3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 18 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment, and lightly grease parchment.  Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl.  Whisk oil, water, egg, and vanilla into flour mixture until smooth batter forms.

4. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip reserved egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase speed ti medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer one-third of the whipped egg whites to batter; whisk gently until mixture is lightened.  Using rubber spatula, gently fold remaining egg whites into batter.

5. Pour batter into prepared sheet; spread evenly.  Bake until top is golden brown and cake spring back when pressed lightly in center, 13-16 minutes.

6.  Transfer cake to wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes.  Run knife around edge of sheet, then invert cake onto wire rack.  Carefully remove parchment, then re-invert cake onto second wire rack.  Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

Fruit Filling:

7. Place 1 1/2 cups strawberries, 1 cup blackberries, 1 cup raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan.  Place remaining berries in large bowl; set aside.  Using potato masher, thoroughly mash berries in sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick and bubbling, 4 to 7 minutes. Pour over berries in bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Whipped Cream:

8. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream, sugar, and 1 tablespoon sherry on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.


9. Trim 1/4 inch off each side of cake; discard trimmings.  Using serrated knife, cut cake into 24 equal pieces (each piece about 2 1/2 inches square).

10. Briefly whisk pastry cream until smooth.  Spoon 3/4 cup pastry cream into trifle bowl; spread over bottom.  Shingle 12 cake pieces, fallen domino-style, around bottom of trifle bowl, placing 10 pieces against dish wall and 2 remaining pieces in center. Drizzle 1/4 cup sherry evenly over cake.  Spoon
half of berry mixture evenly over cake, making sure to use half of liquid.  Using back of spoon, spread half of remaining pastry cream over berries, then spread half of whipped cream over pastry cream (whipped cream layer will be thin).  Repeat layering with remaining 12 cake pieces, sherry, berries, pastry cream, and whipped cream.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 36 hours.  Garnish top of trifle with reserved berries and serve.