Strawberry season has arrived! I quickly snatched up a few pints of the first locally grown strawberries when I saw them on sale at the farmer’s market this week. I’m a big fan of trifles because they’re very easy to make and always look so pretty with all their colourful layers. This trifle can also be made with raspberries, blueberries, or any combination of seasonal berries. I love making this dessert in mason jars, but you can also assemble it in a large trifle or glass bowl if you prefer.
- One Ciambellone (Italian sponge cake), cut into 1 inch cubes
For the strawberry compote:
- 4 cups strawberries, quartered
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
For the vanilla pastry cream:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
- Make the strawberry compote: combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon zest in a small sauce pan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer mixture for 15-20 minutes, until thickened. Pour compote into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until cooled completely.
- Make the pastry cream: in a sauce pan over medium heat, bring milk to a boil.
- While you wait for the milk to boil, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, egg, egg yolks, vanilla and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth, making sure there are no lumps of cornstarch remaining.
- As soon as the milk starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour a few ladlefuls of hot milk into the egg mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Once the mixture has been tempered, pour it back into the saucepan with the milk and return it to the heat.
- Bring custard to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. This should take about 2 minutes. Once the mixture boils, continue to cook, stirring constantly, for an additional minute.
- Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the butter. Whisk until the butter is completely incorporated.
- Pour custard into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to touch the surface of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool.
- Once the custard has cooled and set, gently fold in the whipping cream.
- To assemble the trifle, place a layer of sponge cake at the bottom of your mason jar. Next, spoon the pastry cream over the sponge cake, followed by a layer of strawberry compote. Repeat the layers until you have reached the top of your jar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Yield: Ten mason jar trifles or one large trifle