This recipe for Trifle is a chocolate lover’s riff on the traditional English version of sherry-soaked cake layered with egg custard, preserves and whipped cream. I had fun making my layers taste their Sunday-best by making a chocolate cake from scratch, making a homemade bittersweet chocolate pudding, and whipping the cream with sugar and vanilla. That said, this recipe doesn’t require all of that effort if you’re not in the mood—buy a nice chocolate cake at the grocery store and layer it with box-mix chocolate pudding and any brand of whipped topping—and you will still have a pretty, and satisfying dessert. And don’t leave out the chocolate wafer layer—as my 15-year old son pronounced “that’s the playmaker right there”…the crumbs are nice. My dictionary defines a trifle as something of little value, substance or importance. In the sense that this is an easy-to-prepare, unpretentious, and great casual dessert, I think it is aptly named.
Chocolate cake (I needed only half of a chocolate cake for my serving bowl)
Chocolate pudding (see my recipe below for homemade bittersweet chocolate pudding)
Whipped Cream (see below)
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (put the wafers in resealable bag and roll over them with a rolling pin to make the crumbs –this takes about ½ a box of a 9 ounce sleeve of cookies)
Crumble the chocolate cake into small pieces and put 1/3 of the pieces into the bottom of a clear glass serving bowl. Top with a layer of chocolate pudding, a layer of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate wafer crumbs. Repeat until you reach the top of your bowl.
Homemade Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding
Makes 6 cups
8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 cups whipping cream
18 ounces (4 cups) chopped bittersweet chocolate (don’t use chocolate chips)
Place the chopped chocolate in a large glass or ceramic bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until well blended. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and the whipping cream until hot but not boiling. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon or spatula, this should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the mixture over the chocolate in the glass bowl, let stand for about 30 seconds and then whisk until smooth. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, putting the plastic directly on the pudding to keep it from forming a skin. Refrigerate the pudding until set; plan on at least 3 hours.
Ingredients 2 cups heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla extract together until soft peaks form when you lift the beater.