Author Notes: After being married to my (British) ex husband for 4 years, I've had my share of Trifles. The pub he used to work at served these as a dessert - it was pretty much the only thing on the dessert menu that was 'made', however most of them were stale and made with instant pudding mix - after I left him and those so-called "dessert" abominations I decided to perfect my own. I use my favorite vanilla cake recipe, and my tried and true recipe for creme brulee, thickened. And it doesn't need to be strawberries, any beautiful fruit that's in season will work wonderfully! —darksideofthespoon
Vanilla Bean Cake and Strawberries
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 oranges, zested
- 240ml homogenized milk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 pints hulled strawberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- If using vanilla beans, scrape (almost all) the pod into your sugar and rub together with your hands until all the seeds are beautifully dispersed. (This step also makes your hands smell and feel amazing. ;) ) Save some seeds for your salt and do the same. (You can do this in more sugar and more salt than the recipe calls for, it's always lovely having some vanilla sugar and salt on hand for other recipes!) Save your pods for later in the recipe.
- Cream your butter, vanilla sugar, orange zest and salt. Beat this mixture until it's ridiculously fluffy, thick and white. Remember to scrape your bowl plenty of times so it's all well mixed!
- Add 1 room temperature egg, beat the egg in completely, scrape down your bowl and then add the next, repeating, remembering to scrape in between each.
- Add half your sifted cake flour, mix until just incorporated, scrape, then proceed to add half your homogenized milk. Scrape, then repeat!
- Using a 9" cake pan, stencil out two liners using parchment or wax paper. Butter two 9" cake pans, dust both with flour - tapping out any excess. Put your parchment paper liners inside, or your cake will not come out attractively! Bake your cakes at 325* in a preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife along the edges and tap your cakes out. Once they're cooled completely, cube the cake into 1" pieces and set aside.
- Quarter your hulled strawberries and toss with sugar. Cover these with plastic wrap and allow them to sit for an hour or two so the sugar and dissolve and the juices can develop.
Vanilla Bean 'Pudding' and Orange Chantilly Cream
- 500ml 35% cream
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 6 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 240ml 35% cream
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 orange, zested
- Heat the first measurement of cream until it's hot to the touch but not boiling. That is very important because if it boils it will give the mix an unpleasant taste and smell, and also might boil over - which is never fun.
- Rub your vanilla bean into the sugar until evenly distributed. Use your saved scraped pods and use them to steep flavor into the cream while it heats.
- Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together. Once the cream is nice and hot, slowly pour this into your sugar and yolk mixture. If you pour too quickly, you'll get scrambled eggs.
- Return the cream, yolks and sugar to the stove. Don't use a whisk, you don't want to incorporate any air - using a spatula, constantly stir your mixture over medium - medium high heat until it begins to boil. Once it starts to boil, take it off the heat, strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a pan. (If you use a bowl instead of a pan the "pudding" mixture will take forever to cool down). Lay a piece of saran wrap over the pan and cool it completely in the fridge - this might take over night. Once cooled it will be thick and lovely, just like a cooked creme brulee... partly because that's what it is!)
- Prepare the Orange Chantilly Cream. Whip the cream, adding the orange zest and icing sugar. Whip until medium peak and set aside. Don't do this step too far ahead of assembling the Trifle, the Chantilly will deflate over time if left for too long.
- In a serving bowl, or singe serving parfait bowls; layer a handful of the 1" cake cubes following with the strawberries and some of the juices, then vanilla pudding. Repeat with more cake cubes, more strawberries but then layer with half of the orange chantilly. Repeat again, cake - strawberry - then vanilla pudding, until you don't have any more of your ingredients. Top with your remaining chantilly.
- Enjoy (preferably) with British people because they will be so grateful to have a Trifle that doesn't taste like cardboard and packaged pudding mix!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pub Food