I think my mom fell in love with trifles the year I was sixteen, and we traveled to New Zealand to visit family up and down the North Island. We had a lot of lamb and a lot of trifle. And when we got home, trifle became a regular dessert for company. My mom made hers with vanilla custard, but with berries I prefer the brightness and tang of a lemon curd. Regardless of the components, trifles are fairly simple to assemble yet impressive on the dessert table.
- 1/2 cup granulated or pure cane sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest; use a microplane zester
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about three lemons)
- 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
- pinch of kosher salt
In a mixer, cream together sugar, butter, and lemon zest until well incorporated. In a heavy saucepan, or using a double boiler, heat the sugar mixture and remaining ingredients over medium heat. Whisk constantly until thickened, about 6-10 minutes. Immediately strain into a glass bowl, press plastic wrap onto its surface, and set aside to cool. (Can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated).
- 3 cups cold heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until thickened and peaks begin to form.
Reserve 1/3 of the whipped cream to top the trifle.
Place about a cup of the remaining whipped cream into another mixing bowl. Mix in the lemon curd to incorporate. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream (not including the reserved third).
Berries and Cake:
- 4-5 cups assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries)
- 1 pound yellow or lemon cake (If making your own, bake the day ahead). Before assembling the dessert, cut the loaf into one-inch cubes.
Assemble the Trifle:
For my trifle, I use a straight-sided clear glass bowl (5.5 inches high and 6.5 inches across). You can also use individual glasses.
Place cake cubes on the bottom of the bowl in a single layer, breaking apart if necessary. Spoon in half of the lemon curd/whipped cream mixture. Top that with a layer of berries. Repeat.
Top off with the reserved whipped cream, and finish with berries to decorate. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.