Recipe: Raspberry Trifle

 When the holidays come around and you've got a trifle bowl to fill.

Every time I hear "trifle" I immediately think of that Friends episode. Yes, the one where Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) mistakenly mashed-up 2 recipes in her attempt to contribute to the holiday spread (she basically flipped through 2 recipes - English trifle and a Shepherd's Pie 😨). 

I love making trifles. They're pretty, showcase- and photo-ready, and they're difficulty level is entirely up to you. You can make it as simple as dumping everything in, or as complicated as making each and every layer exquisitely unique. Unfortunately, I don't have any process photos for this. I was too excited (and frankly, distracted) so all I can offer is a photo of the finished product. Don't worry, it's easy as pie.

I seem to have some infatuation towards desserts of English and French origin. Yes, you guessed it. The trifle originated in England, as early as the 1600s. It's gone a long way from its original form. But it's basically a layered melange of sponge cake, custard, fruit, and some alcohol component. Some add lemon curd, Devonshire custard, and some even dip the sponge cake in wine for a more summer taste. I could just imagine serving this for afternoon or high tea! What a beauty! But since it was Christmas, I thought it fitting to serve this. And what a treat this was! It was light, silky, decadent, fruity, and it just screams "holiday" altogether. 

If you want to impress your guests (when the time comes that we're all not locked up in our lairs anymore), give this a go! Plus... you can also say, "I was finally able to use my gifted trifle bowl." 😁

Raspberry Trifle
I was able to do 3 layers of lady fingers with my trifle bowl. I could've done 4 layers but ran out of raspberries. 

You’ll need a trifle bowl/mould (21.5cm diameter, this is the one 1 have), a couple of bowls, a hand mixer, a rubber and an offset spatula, and a grater/microplane.

1 tub mascarpone cheese
1 tub whipped cream cheese, light (so less sodium)
1 cup whipping cream, 35%
¼ cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
lady fingers
1 cup hot water or milk
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp brown sugar
(optional: 1 tbsp of rum)

2 punnets of fresh raspberries
1 chocolate bar, dark or milk

  1. In a smaller bowl, prepare the hot water/milk and dilute the instant coffee and the brown sugar. Let this cool at room temperature and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl and using the wire whisk attachment, whisk the whipped cream until it doubles in volume. Add the vanilla, icing sugar, half of the mascarpone, and half of the cream cheese and continue whisking for 1-2 more minutes. Add the rest of the cheeses until well incorporated. Taste it - if you want it sweeter, add 2 more tablespoons of sugar. 
  3. Mise-en-place! Prepare your raspberries, chocolate bar with the grater/microplane beside it, lady fingers, and the bowl of diluted coffee.
  4. To assemble, take your trifle bowl and layer first with the cream mixture. Dip the lady fingers in the coffee mixture until you’ve covered the base, add some raspberries, and grate some chocolate shavings. Repeat this process (cream, lady fingers, fruit, then chocolate) until you’ve reached 3 or 4 layers. 
  5. Top it off with the rest of the cream mixture and dress it up with some raspberries and more grated chocolate. Let this sit in the chiller for at least 1 hour before serving. 
  6. Dig in and enjoy!!!

Because a trifle bowl is so specific (basically a bowl with a built-in cake stand), you can just wrap the top with some plastic wrap. Store in the chiller for 2-3 days so the raspberries don’t spoil. There are also some trifle bowls/moulds that come with a seal top (like a Tupperware or Pyrex dish). 

*You can go nuts with the kind of trifle you want. You can add lemon curd (make your own so you can control the sweetness), add some plain vanilla custard, or use Devonshire custard. Use different fruits as well and even cook the fruits in sugar to make a compote of mixed berries, some caramelized apples, stewed peaches... the list goes on and on. Just don't make the mistake of mixing up some Shepherd's pie components. 

**Another idea that popped in this noggin' of mine is making a large banana pudding! Yup, the one served in Magnolia Bakery. Instead of lady fingers, use some Nilla wafers and make a banana-flavoured pudding. Slice up some fresh bananas and layer away!!! Hhhmmm..... 

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