Thursday, January 28, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly #2: Cherry Trifle

I consider myself an adequate cook. I can make good wholesome meals with ease, my bread is light, and my desserts are toothsome. But one area I am sorely lacking is Making Food Pretty. Or presentation as they say these days.

So while I enjoyed eating this challenge, I am the first to admit that the looks are... pretty sloppy. Judge for yourself.

The Challenge: 2. Culinary Vices (January 15 - January 28) Some foods are really, really naughty. Globs of butter, lashings of sugar and syrup, decadent chocolate and wine. Bring out your naughty, indecorous side with foods associated with all the bad things, in the best ways.

I am no stranger to trifle; I have been in love with them ever since Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess came out. And the concept is pretty simple: take some old cake, soak it in booze, top with jam or fruit, and add custard and whipped cream.

What could be more vice-ridden than combining cream, sugar, and alcohol?

The Recipe: I used three separate recipes, one for the trifle itself, one for the custard, and one for the cake. The first two are from Mrs. Beeton's and the cake is from National Cookery.

The Date/Year and Region: mid-late 19th century, England/America

How Did You Make It: I admit I played fast and loose with the trifle recipe. For one thing, I didn't have any macaroons or ratafias (whatever they are) and for another I didn't particularly like the idea of mixing raw egg whites into my whipped cream. Plus I hate sweet sherry, so instead I used a fruit-flavored liqueur.

For the other two I followed as written, but for the custard I used 5 whole eggs plus 4 yolks, and half milk/half cream.

Baked my cream sponge cake.

Made my custard in the double boiler. Usually I just make it in a pot and the double boiler took FOREVER.

I wish I had had more time to let my cake stale. Alas.

Lined two bowls with cake. I made a separate, non-alcoholic version for my young daughter.

Cherry booze and cherry jam!

Cakes soaked and sprinkled with lemon zest.

Jammed it and sprinkled almonds.

And finally, whipped cream and more almonds.

Oh, trifle, you are not pretty, but I wanna eat you anyway!

Time to Complete: Two days overall, about 2 hours actual work time.

Total Cost: Two pint of cream at $4-ish, a jar of jam, eggs, sugar, flour, liqueur. . . maybe $20.

How Successful Was It?: It looked. . . homely. It tasted amazing. The alcohol-soaked cake was soft and strong, the custard creamy and sweet, the jam full of big fruity chunks.

 How Accurate Is It?: I improvised a lot. Cherry liqueur instead of sherry, cherry jam in place of strawberry, and normal whipped cream (made with the electric mixer!) in place of that with eggwhites added. I also omitted the macaroons and ratafias. However, all the ingredients were available at the time, and I don't think anything I did sticks out like a sore thumb.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of a good ole Charlotte Russe. Yummy!