Last week was a week of highs and lows for our Little A. After contracting Lyme disease last month (and a long month before a definitive diagnosis), he had some unexpected complications on Monday which landed us in Children’s Hospital for the next few days. He was released just in time to celebrate his 9th birthday on Friday: a day full of Pirates baseball (GO BUCS! Who are not only over 500 for the first time in almost 20 years, but are leading their division!) and a family celebration with one of Little A’s favorite desserts: English Trifle. A birthday party with friends on Saturday helped to erase the not-so-fun start to the week.
Late night photos do not do justice to this dessert. Layers of pound cake, fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, and a homemade vanilla custard were the dessert of choice for my little guy that never eats anything made with chocolate.
½ – l loaf pound cake, cut into thin cubes (or ladyfingers or angel food cake)
1 quart strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
½ cup raspberry jam
1-2 Tbs sugar or small pinch of Stevia extract
Vanilla Custard (see recipe below-or use boxed vanilla pudding)
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs powdered sugar or small pinch of Stevia extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
Toasted almonds, for garnish
Prepare Vanilla Custard or pudding. Cool completely. In a separate bowl, mix fruits, jam and sugar/Stevia.
Layer half of the cake slices, fruit and custard in a large glass serving bowl. Repeat layers. Whip cream with powdered sugar/Stevia and almond extract. Spread on top of the trifle layers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted almonds.
**NOTE: The exact amounts of cake, fruit and custard that you use will depend on the size of your bowl. Leftovers make great individual parfaits!
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean (Split bean in half and scrape seeds into the saucepan. Place bean pod in the saucepan as well). Stir in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. While boiling, cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to the saucepan, stirring well. Return custard to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 2 additional minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract (if using) and remove vanilla bean pod. Pour into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard (to keep from developing a skin). Chill until cool. Do not stir while custard is cooling.