Rhubarb teams up with almonds and vanilla in this light, homey dessert. Almond macaroons are substituted for the traditional sponge, adding chewy texture and flavor that nicely complements the rhubarb. Don't fuss too much with these macaroons, since they are meant to be broken and layered into the trifle, and if you prefer a more prominent almond flavor, try substituting almond extract for the vanilla extract. —TasteFood
For the almond macaroons
large egg whites
superfine sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
vanilla extract (or almond extract)
For the trifle
rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat the egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer until soft soft peaks form. Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy. Mix in vanilla extract.
Grind almonds in bowl of a food processor with 2 tablespoons sugar until almonds are very finely ground. Fold into egg whites.
Drop heaping spoonfuls of the egg mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in oven until golden brown, 15 minutes. Remove and cool. You should have about 2 dozen.
For the trifle
Prepare rhubarb: Toss rhubarb and 3/4 cup sugar together in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook rhubarb until very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Prepare vanilla cream: Whisk egg yolks and 1 tablespoon sugar together in a small noncorrodible saucepan. Heat milk and vanilla bean in another saucepan until milk begins to boil. Stir 2 tablespoons milk into eggs. Slowly add remaining milk, stirring constantly. Heat the milk and eggs until nearly boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over medium heat. The milk will thicken to heavy cream consistency and thickly coat the wooden spoon; do not let boil. Remove from heat and strain through a fine meshed sieve into a bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the custard. Cool completely.
Before assembly, whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a bowl of mixer until beginning to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons sugar to cream and continue to beat until peaks form. Remove 1/2 of whipped cream and set aside. Gently fold the vanilla cream into the remaining whipped cream.
Assemble trifle: Spoon a thin layer of the rhubarb into the bottom of a glass serving bowl or individual glasses. Crumble 1/3 of the macaroons over the rhubarb. Cover with a layer of the vanilla whipped cream. Top with 1/2 of the remaining rhubarb. Crumble 1/3 of the macaroons over the rhubarb. Cover with a layer of the vanilla whipped cream. Top with remaining rhubarb. Crumble remaining macaroons over rhubarb. Spoon the reserved whipped cream over the top of the trifle. Dot the top of the trifle with fresh strawberries just before serving.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. The trifle may be assembled up to 4 hours before serving. The longer it sits, the softer it will become.