Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Saint-Honoré Trifle

It may sound French and look British, but this one here is unmistakeably an All-American Trifle. When the stern face of Honest Abe looks out over your creamy concoctions, you know that you've baked something socially significant, a dessert with integrity. A truly trustworthy trifle.
                       
Three shows, one bake sale, two final projects, and five visiting family members pushed this Heavenly Cake back a little, and simplified its scope. Would you believe that that creamy, fluffy, fruity parfait was actually supposed to have two MORE elements--a whipped cream topping and a spun sugar hat. Having whipped quite enough cream into the interior Chiboust pastry cream (delicious. amazing.), I left off the whipped topper, and decided to leave spun sugar for another, less humid day in Brooklyn. Having sustained a few nasty burns at the bakery this weekend, I wasn't overeager to punch up my caramel blister cred. And don't worry, Heavenly Bakers, I'm sure I'll get around to it soon.

I quartered the recipe, which was meant to make one huge bowl-sized trifle, and wound up using even less than the recommended amount of cake since a lazy sifting cake process left me with cornstarch lumps on the bottom of the six-inch pan. I just cut the bottom off, and had plenty to work with. Trifles just seem to beg for ingredient substitutions, and this one had plenty. Instead of orange marmalade, I used apricot preserves to spread the bottom of the cake layers, which were moistened by cherry juice and Campari (which is the current medium for my homemade vanilla jar). Instead of the recommended strawberries, I used David Lebovitz's candied cherries, which I recently made from a jar of cherries in syrup, and which I've lost my heart to entirely.

The Chiboust cream, a gelatin-supported pastry cream, was flavored with abundant vanilla seeds from the Ugandan vanilla beans (take that, Tahiti and Madagascar) that Liana smuggled home for me. Unlike the dried-out haul that I lugged back last January, these beans are fat, wet, and lush. I can't wait to put them in absolutely everything.

The trifle was finished so late last night that it wasn't even tasted, as Matt had already had his ice cream, and Liana 'doesn't like sponge cake,' (who raised her?). I think it will be better anyway with some blending time. Every component was of course tasted along the way, and was perfect. Now all I need to do is emulate my mother and get myself an extensive collection of sundae and parfait glasses, and I'll be all set.

6 comments:

Vicki said...

I'm sure Abe would have enjoyed this very much and it would have been a great dessert at a White House dinner. And this dessert is even better the next day.

evil cake lady said...

I love you Abraham Lincoln trifle! Those cherries sound delicious. I considered making a ton of individual servings in jam jars too, and I'm glad to know they would look great that way.

evil cake lady said...

oops, meant to type "i love your abraham lincoln trifle." now it looks like i am speaking directly to your trifle!

Mendy said...

ב''ה

That trifles is really fun.

Got to try and get some Uganda vanilla bean! :)

Monica said...

Seriously.. how cute is that idea of making them like that! I hear you on the humidity.. mine spun sugar looked pretty for about 5 minutes, then it started to get darker and darker in color until it was melting right before my eyes...

Nicola said...

Candied cherries. Mmmm, sounds like trifle for all year round.

Love the glasses, though I am not sure about have scary Abe looking at me whilst scarfing the trifle...