Raspberry Port Trifle

There are many reasons to love trifle—it’s easy to assemble, and the messy appearance is part of its charm—but most of all, it’s pretty much guaranteed to taste delicious. This recipe from Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson is no exception. And while it calls for port (either a ruby or tawny will do just fine) and leftover plain cake (yellow or white), try experimenting with other ingredients like bourbon, sherry, kirsch and sponge cake for equally delicious results.

Crème Anglaise
2 cups (16 fluid oz.) whole milk
4 egg yolks
⅓ cup (2 ¼ oz.) granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt

For the Layers
2 lbs. leftover plain cake
¾ cup (6 fluid oz.) port
1 cup raspberry jam
2 pints (4 cups) raspberries, fresh or frozen

Whipped Cream
2 cups (16 fluid oz.) heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs. granulated or confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)
Lightly toasted almonds or fresh fruit, for garnish (optional)

To make the crème anglaise: Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until a skin begins to form on its surface, just before it comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, vanilla and salt until well blended and slightly thickened. While whisking continuously, slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Then, still whisking continuously, slowly pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk.

Cook the custard over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; this will take about 10 minutes. (If you run your finger down the spoon, the custard shouldn’t run into the track.) Immediately remove the custard from the heat and pour it through a fine-mesh sieve into a two-quart bowl. Cover with plastic warp, placing it directly on the surface so the custard doesn’t form a skin. Let the custard cool to room temperature.

To assemble the trifle: Slice the cake into ½- to ¾-inch-thick pieces. Arrange one-third of the slices on the bottom off the trifle bowl, pressing the cake to fill the bottom. Pour ¼ cup of the port evenly over the cake, then spread ⅓ cup of the jam over the cake. Cover with layers of raspberries, using about 1 ⅓ cups, then pour ¾ cup of the custard over the berries. Repeat the entire process two more times. Cover the surface of the trifle with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to two days.

To make the whipped cream, garnish and serve: Well in advance of serving, put the whipping cream in a bowl in the refrigerator, along with a whisk. When you’re ready to serve, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it holds soft peaks, five to seven minutes. Pile the whipped cream atop the trifle and garnish with the fresh fruit and toasted nuts.

Reprinted with permission from The Grand Central Baking Book: Breakfast Pastries, Cookies, Pies, and Satisfying Savories from the Pacific Northwest’s Celebrated Bakery by Piper Davis with Ellen Jackson, copyright© 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.”