May 23, 2010,
Name of Cake: A Freaking Huge Trifle
Occasion: HCB, and my birthday/housewarming party
Constituents: genoise cake, chiboust pastry cream, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, booze
The crowning glory of this trifle is the beautiful nest of spun sugar that is placed on top. I, however, chose to skip the spun sugar as I had something else with which to top my trifle:
This came all the way from Bath, via Melinda. I received it the day I was baking the trifle, the day before the party. How timely and perfect!! Thank you Melinda!! You are a most thoughtful and sweet internet friend, and I appreciate you :)
This trifle consists of several components, and upon first (and second and third) reads the recipe seems like it will be laborious and time consuming. However, I found that not to be the case.
On Thursday, I cleared away a corner of countertop, found my saucepan, and moved some boxes in order to get to my liquor stash. Not because I needed a drink, which I did, but because I wanted to make the Grand Marnier syrup for the cake. This is when I discovered I had about 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier left, but I substituted with Triple Sec which seemed to turn out all right. The syrup is really easy: sugar and water are brought to a boil and then immediately removed from the heat, covered and cooled. Once cool the liqueur is added, and you're finished. No problem.
Saturday I got to making the rest of the components. By this time, more boxes in the kitchen had been cleared away, the baking box had been found, and the counters were pretty clear. It was also my only major task for Saturday, and what a fun Saturday it turned out to be. I spent the whole day in the kitchen making chiboust pastry cream (the best stuff on earth!), my first well-risen genoise (hooray!), and a pound of beurre noisette.
Then, as if all that wasn't enough, I got to assemble all these yummy components into one freakin huge trifle. After scraping off the top and bottom crusts of the genoise layers, they are split in half and cut to fit into the trifle bowl. Each layer is spread with a mixture of orange marmalade and, in my case, Triple Sec. A layer is placed marmalade side down in the trifle bowl, syrup is applied to the top side, pastry cream is spread over the top and cut strawberries are sprinkled over the cream. Lather, rinse, and repeat until all the components are used. I had to sort of smush down all the layers to have enough room for the top layer of cake and pastry cream. At this point the trifle is covered in plastic wrap and sent to the refrigerator for an overnight rest.
The next day, just as people were starting to arrive, I whipped up the cream for the topping and clumsily piped it on with the biggest tube I had. A few more strawberries on top, the little kitty with a candle, and ta-da! Trifle!
This trifle was excellent. It was creamy and soft. It was bright and fruity. It was mellow with vanilla and punchy with booze. It was so, so good. Cookie fell in love with it and immediately got up for a second serving. I had more before bed that night. It was delicious.
It was still pretty good the next day, but after 48 hours this trifle just becomes kind of mushy and not so great. But really, why would it last more than 48 hours anyway?
Many people talked about the St Honore trifle being such a production to make that they don't really see themselves making it again. Sure, I spent a whole day putting it together but it was great fun and to my mind not laborious like I feared. I can definitely see myself making it again, as long as I have lots of people to feed it to!