06 July 2010


About this time last week, I was wasting some time on the computer when I remembered I was to take a dessert for four to a girlfriend's house that evening. I finally had my energy back after a miserable cold, but I just didn't feel like a baking spree.

I was, however, willing to drive to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and that's just what I did. I feel a little like Sandra Lee and her Semi-Homemade shtick telling you this, but I'll go ahead anyways.

I remembered I had some whipping cream in the fridge that needed to be put to use. And with beautiful strawberries and raspberries in season, I figured I needed to find a use for the ruby jewels. And lastly, I had to consider my hostess, who is not big on chocolate.

Somehow, I came up with trifle, that English dessert that's layers of cake and cream packed into a bowl. It's such a special dessert, there's literally a dish named after it, a trifle bowl, of which I do not own. And therein came problem no. 2.

Although my hair is not nearly as blond nor coiffed as Sandra's, and I seldom pose for photos with a piping bag in my hand, I thought of nothing but her as I shoved cubes of angel food cake into wine glasses. It really was perfect, really, given that I wasn't so much as making trifle, I was just borrowing it's layered presentation. I suppose you could make yours a bit more trifle-like by soaking your cake in some brandy or rum if you weren't already running late to your dinner party.

The most refreshing part of this dessert was that it didn't take long for my daydream of Sandra's test kitchen to burst. Once I said the word "cake," Jasper pulled a stool up and thought I'd finally gotten it right by serving bite-size pieces of cake. As the boy tried to ask for more with his mouth stuffed, crumbs flying everywhere and sticky little fingers all over the counter, I realized that this is exactly the kind of moment that would give Sandra's world a real homemade touch!

Individual Raspberry Trifles

1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 to 3 cups of raspberries, divided
1/2 cup + sugar
Zest of one lemon
Mint leaves for garnish

Puree one cup of raspberries and set aside. In a stand mixer, whip the whipping cream until it develops soft peaks. Transfer to another bowl and place in the refrigerator. With a whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese and sugar in the stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add raspberry puree and lemon zest and whip until well blended and smooth. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and fold in, by hand, the whip cream to the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.

In wine glasses, make a layer of angel food cake cubes, then top with a layer of the whipping cream. Then, arrange a few whole berries near the outside of the glass, so they are visible. Then repeat steps of layering cake and cream filling until the glass is full. Top with more of the whipping cream and a raspberry and mint leaf for garnish.

Transport tip: I had to carry these glasses to my friend's house, and couldn't quite figure out how to make it work until I remembered I still had the box my wine glasses came in. I just popped the filled glassed in the box and didn't worry a bit about them traveling in the car.

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