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Every other Friday, we'll be sharing dessert projects that demand a little extra time and effort. Because weekends are the sweetest part of the week.
Kids may be back in school and summer's unofficial end may have passed, but I’m just not quite ready to say goodbye when there is so much delicious summer fruit left to eat. So I roasted some late summer treats like plums and figs until they were caramelized and juicy, and turned them into an elegant trifle: layered with squares of rich almond pound cake, plus pastry cream lightened with a bit of crème fraîche and a healthy dose of whipped cream.
More: Another sweet way to celebrate the end of summer? Ice cream cake.
For the best results, use a mix of thin-skinned late summer fruit. I found tart plums with sweet nectarines and figs to be a nice combination, but use whatever is available where you live. I imagine apricots and cherries would be nice additions to this impressive summer send-off in dessert form.
Serves 10 to 12
For the Almond Pound Cake
12 tablespoons high quality butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
For the Vanilla Cream and Roasted Fruit
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups assorted late summer fruit
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 strips lemon zest, peeled with a veggie peeler
Reserved vanilla bean pod from making the pastry cream
1/4 cup of something boozy such as rum, bourbon, amaretto, frangelico, chambord, or grand marnier
Make your Almond Pound Cake, let it cool, and then slice it into 1/2-inch cubes
Next, make your vanilla cream and roast your fruit at 375° F until it's soft and juicy. Gather everything together, and assemble your trifles.
Put a thin layer of vanilla cream on the bottom of the trifle dish (or dishes). Add a layer of the cake and brush on a bit of liqueur, followed by spoonfuls of roasted fruit and vanilla cream.
Repeat the layers until all of the ingredients are used.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight before serving. Top with additional unsweetened whipped cream and a slice of fresh fruit if desired. This recipe will make one large trifle or 10 to 12 individual ones, depending on the size of the glasses.
Photos by Yossy Arefi