For serious bakers, this spectacular dessert packed with berries will be the envy of everyone at your summer dinner party.
We have all had our share of heavy, sickly sweet pies, cakes and cookies while this summer has lagged on. I wanted to make something light and airy, but at the same time satisfying and sweet with just a touch of tartness. When you need tart- you have to go with rhubarb & ginger.
First of all, do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients or cooking instructions. This trifle is perfect for a make ahead show stopper dessert. The jam filling takes about 5 minutes to cook in a sauce pan. It is very easy and well worth the time. Most of the cake ingredients you probably have on hand in your pantry. Make a berry puree to moisten the sponge- takes 5 minutes.
If making a sponge cake is too time consuming, I recommend using a store bought or local bakery angel food cake or sponge. A pound cake, like Sara Lee, will be too sweet and heavy.
Cutting the sponge in half, I then made little chunks of cake and alternated with layers of the berry sauce, fresh berries and rhubarb “jam” and then topped with the Créme Anglaise and whipped cream. The result- a light, refreshing and oh so summery dessert. I have made this trifle multiple times and it really can take a double amount of creme anglais and berry puree. There is nothing worse than a dry trifle.
After deciding on a cake base, I then decided to up the flavor component of the rhubarb by adding fresh ginger- and lots of it. I made a jammy filling with the rhubarb, let it cool and whipped up heavy cream with a scant amount of sugar.
At first I wanted to make an angel food cake, but decided to wait another month for something with a chocolate component. More on that in a few weeks. Having watched endless episodes of The Great British Bake Off, I decided a Genoise Sponge Cake would be perfect. Its light and just barely sweet. But, being a purest, I also know not many people want to whip eggs over boiling water, so I opted for a simpler sponge based on The Silver Palates New Basics Cookbook. If you do not have this cookbook in your collection, I urge you to buy a copy.
How to prepare the Summer Berry & Rhubarb Trifle:
- First- make a batter by beating egg yolks and sugar, whip egg whites with salt and sugar, fold together with sifted flour, bake the sponge (just a fancy word for cake), let cool, then cut into squares
- Make the Crème anglaise by heating milk and vanilla beans, temper with eggs and sugar, combine and cook until thick and let cool for 30 minutes
- Make the rhubarb jam in a saucepan with a bit of sugar, lemon juice and fresh ginger and let cool
- Throw the blueberries in a blender and puree til smooth then strain
- Wash and prep the berries
- Assemble the Trifle, cover with plastic and let rest overnight
- Top with whipped cream, chill up to 2 hours or serve right away
Since we are doing a show stopper dessert, let’s throw in a Crème Anglaise to really impress the family.
Crème Anglaise is just a fancy vanilla custard- it takes just a few minutes to make and really takes the cake… ha ha. See the link on how to make mine HERE.