Nothing says holiday party like a colorful bowl of berry trifle. A palette of glistening sponge cake floating in a cloud of creamy custard and whipped cream, dotted with the bright hues of berries, will have your guests humming everything from Merry Christmas to the Star Spangled banner!
As a chef in a discerning culinary community, I am accustomed to working around dietary restrictions from vegan and kosher diets to gluten and dairy allergies, and a dessert should accommodate every guest so I tinkered with the ingredients to accommodate those not eating dairy as well as vegans.
I originally posted this dessert for Christmas but my reader, Kit, (thanks Kit!) suggested it for July 4th or any summer party, so you might want to add some blueberries and a few flags to celebrate this non-dairy/gluten-free version of this dessert borrowed from the motherland. God Bless America!
Make the Génoise Sponge cake the day before.
4 large eggs (for vegans, use an egg substitute like Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1 teaspoon of grated orange peel
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup gluten-free flour, sifted
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, butter and flour a round cake tin, and measure out and prepare your ingredients before beginning the recipe.
In a large bowl, preferably the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar over a bain-marie–a hot water bath used for delicate cooking, made simply by heating water in a large pot on the stove. Once mixture reaches about 100 degrees, finish whisking with an electric whisk until the mixture has cooled completely and doubled in volume. Stir the sifted flour and orange peel in with a rubber spatula, using gentle circular motions. Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the sponge comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the cake pan and allow to cool completely on a rack. Once cooled, cut the cake into small cubes and set aside. If serving for adults, add a sprinkle of Gran Marnier and toss before assembling the trifle.
Make the custard the day before or several hours before so that it sets
Ingredients for the custard
1 cup (235ml) soya milk
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp agar agar – you can leave it out if you can’t get hold of any, but the mixture will won’t be as firm.
Pinch of turmeric for yellow (yolk-like color)
4 tbsp maple syrup, agave or liquid sweetener of choice
1 tsp good quality vanilla paste or extract
In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until combined. Place the bowl over a bain-marie and keep whisking for about 3-5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and doubled in volume. Allow to cool completely before using!
Assembling your English Trifle.
1 pint your choice of berries, (if strawberries, slice)
1/4 cup berry jam
Genoise Sponge, (see above)
Vegan custard, (see above)
Nuts of choice, optional
Fresh mint, for garnish
Once your sabayon has cooled completely–and make sure that it has, or else it will melt the cream–you can begin to arrange your trifle. Mix your berry jam of choice with your berries of choice. In whatever vessel you are using, layer first the cubes of cake, then the berries and sabayon. Continue to alternate until you reach about one inch from the top, your last layer being layer of cake. Add the coconut cream in dollops on top, then garnish with fresh berries and nuts, or, if you have nut-allergic guests, keep the nuts on the side. Finish with a few springs of fresh mint, and serve alongside a glass of 2011 Brut from Sparkling Pointe Vineyards.