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Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Impressive Raspberry Trifle


Here's an impressive holiday dessert, a Raspberry-White Chocolate-Almond Trifle. I pulled this recipe off of Epicurious.com a few years back and I've made it twice to rave reviews. It's not often I make a recipe more than once. It has to be knock-out good. And this recipe qualifies.

This is not a difficult recipe but it does have a number of steps and components. Don't be intimidated! Give yourself enough time to get all the pieces done, put it together and let it chill until you need to serve. Everyone will be impressed.

Crisp ladyfingers are found in some supermarkets in the cookie section or in Italian groceries. They are the same ladyfingers used in tiramisu. Typically, they come in 7 oz packages with 24 cookies in each.

A tip on washing and drying raspberries -  put them in a colander and spray them with cold water. Then shake them gently. Finally, place berries on a clean kitchen towel, hollow side down so any water inside the berries drains out. Fresh raspberries are delicate little things and this is the best way to clean them without banging them up. And since these berries are garnish, you want them to look pretty.

The order of assembly is important here. If you put the hot melted jam on top of the whipped cream, it will deflate the cream, so follow the order in the recipe to keep the cream light and fluffy.

Full disclosure on this recipe: the second time I made this recipe, I grabbed the vanilla extract instead of the almond extract. Still tasted great! So, if you only have vanilla and don't want to spring for a bottle of almond, go for it. It will be just fine.

Raspberry, White Chocolate and Almond Trifle
(serves 16-20)
Adapted from Epicurious.com

Requires 5 hours of chilling after assembly and can be made up to 24 hours before serving

3 ½ cups Chilled Heavy Whipping Cream, divided
12 ounces High-Quality White Chocolate (Such As Lindt Or Perugina), chopped
1 ¼ teaspoon Almond Extract, divided
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Water
7 ounces Boudoirs Or Champagne Biscuits (Crisp Ladyfinger Cookies)
1 cup Raspberry Jam, melted
2 12-ounce Packages Frozen Unsweetened Raspberries, partially thawed
2 6-ounce Containers Fresh Raspberries, washed and dried
¾ cup Sliced Almonds, toasted

Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate; whisk until smooth, which will take a couple of minutes. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes. You don't want to add hot chocolate to the cream because it will deflate the whipped cream.

Beat 2 1/2 cups cream and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in a large bowl to soft peaks. Fold in white chocolate mixture.

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts. Mix in 3/4 teaspoon almond extract; remove syrup from heat. Quickly submerge 1 biscuit in syrup; shake excess back into pan (I found that the ladyfingers acted like a sponge so there wasn't anything to shake off). Place dipped biscuit in bottom of 14-cup trifle dish. Repeat with enough biscuits to cover bottom of dish (should be 8 ladyfingers).

Spread 1/3 of melted jam over biscuits in dish. Top with 1/3 of partially thawed berries with juices. Spread 1/3 of whipped chocolate cream over berries. Repeat layering with dipped biscuits, melted jam, partially thawed berries, and whipped chocolate cream 2 more times. Mound fresh berries in center of trifle. Sprinkle almonds around edge.

Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours.

Link to PDF of Raspberry, White Chocolate and Almond Trifle

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