On Monday night, I hosted a wrap-up meeting for our cookbook fundraising committee at church. I also volunteered to make dessert. So the age-old debate in my head began: do I want to choose from one of my endless dessert cookbooks and make something decadent, or do I want to go for something a little more sensible? My heart (and stomach) are always up for the first option, but it was a Monday night. I had eaten a lot on the weekend, and Easter is just ahead – option 2 it is. Now for what to make?
I decided to go with a trifle. I just love trifles, for so many reasons. They are SO versatile and adaptable. You can make one that’s pretty healthy/low-cal as I did for Monday’s version, or you can splurge and go for totally decadent ingredients. You can go for a fruity version as I did here, or use brownies and chocolate pudding for a chocoholic’s delight. You can use fresh, frozen or canned fruit, or a combination of all of the above (that’s what I did here). You can dig out that leftover cake from your freezer, make your own from scratch or a mix, or even just grab a premade angel food cake or pound cake from the grocery store bakery.
So I’m going to tell you how I made my trifle, but feel free to change and adapt anything and everything to suit your tastes.
Mango Peach Berry Trifle
First up is the cake. As you can see from the picture, I used an Angel Food cake mix. I’m not a huge mix person, I’m more of a from-scratch kind of girl. But making angel food cake from scratch is kind of time-consuming, and I was in a make-it-fast kind of mood on Sunday. Plus, I had this mix on the shelf. Added bonus? The mix made two loaf-size cakes, and I only needed one for my trifle. So of course, I wrapped and froze the other one and now the next time I want to make a trifle (or just eat a slice of cake), it’ll be ready to go. While we’re on the subject of cake, trifle is also a great way to resurrect cake failures. If you try to get the cake out of the pan and fail, resulting in a crumbly mess, DON’T THROW IT OUT! Just go with the crumbling and put it in a trifle – no one will be the wiser.
Pudding comes next. I always use fat-free instant pudding mix for my trifles. I make it according to package directions, but like to reduce the liquid it calls for. So instead of 2 cups skim milk, I used a little over one. Then I fold in a bunch of Cool Whip for a nice mousse-like texture. I think I might have read about this trick in a magazine somewhere, I’m not sure, but it’s my standard method when making a trifle. But if you want, just make pudding as to package directions and go for it.
Assembly time! The fruit I chose for this trifle was a mix of sliced mangoes (are you surprised?), canned peaches in water, drained and chopped; sliced fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries (since I was making it the night before, I didn’t bother to thaw first). Again – use whatever fruit you like/have on hand/is in season. I got my cake crumbled up, and started with a layer of cake cubes, topped with just a couple of splashes of the liquid from the peaches to moisten (this is not essential if you don’t have any liquid, don’t worry – but this is where many people take the chance to add some booze ), then I topped with a layer of fruit, then the pudding mixture. I repeated these layers again, and topped it all off with a layer of fat free Cool Whip, and a decorative strawberry garnish.
Another one of trifle’s charms is how well it sits in the fridge. I think many people would say it’s better after sitting overnight. It’s a great make-ahead dessert. I made it on Sunday, so I was good to go on Monday. I’d say it was a big hit with the ladies. I think everyone appreciated having a dessert that was delicious, but still fairly light.
I’m sure there will be more trifles in the future, as for me, I consider trifle more of a spring/summer dessert – there’s more seasonal fruit, plus it’s a cool and creamy dessert. But really, if you’ve got the stuff, you can make a trifle any time of year! Do you have any favourite trifle flavour combos/recipes?