A Trio of Trifles

or praise inspiring quick and easy desserts to boost your ego without bursting your wallet.

"I've made a resolution not to destroy my ego or self-esteem by declaring any New Year's resolutions.  I usually break them within a week, so I decided to give up on them"  - Frank Sheridan, Irish Consul

I'll keep this short and sweet, like these desserts, since the end of the year has taken its toll on my cognitive processes (as I'm sure many of you have experienced as well).  What I bring to the table today is a delicious dessert that requires no baking, limited financial investment, and minimal mental focus.  What more could you ask for?  Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.  And the icing on the cake - so to speak - is that people will "oooo" and "aaaa" over your tasty and impressively decorative treat, never knowing how easy and affordable it really is to make.  Don't worry, I won't tell.  So go ahead, show off your hidden dessert talent, and bring one of these delightful dishes to your next gathering. 

Caution - the author of this blog is not responsible for any resulting over-indulging that may take place.  If you are the "New Year's Resolution" type you may want to wait until you've broken it before attempting these desserts at home.  Don't say I didn't warn you...

Angel Berry Trifle
  • 1 Angel Food Cake
  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 2 boxes of instant custard
  • 1 large tub of whipped cream

Panettone Holiday Trifle
  • 1/2 Panettone
  • Dried apricots
  • Golden raisins
  • 1 cup amaretto or other similar liquor
  • 2 boxes of instant custard
  • 1 large tub of whipped cream

Strawberry Delight Trifle
  • 1/2 Angel Food Cake
  • 1 small container of frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
  • 1/2 bag frozen sweet cherries, thawed
  • 1 large box of instant pudding, cheesecake flavored
  • 1 large tub of whipped cream

First select which ingredient list you would like to work with or develop your own combination of cake/sweet bread, pudding, and fruit.

1. Slice the angel food cake or panettone into cubes that could reasonably be one or two spoonfuls in size.  For the first layer, cover the bottom of the dish with "cake."  You'll want to make sure there are no gaps, it is done in a single layer if possible, half of the "cake" is used, and that it presses up firmly against the outside of the clear bowl. 

2. Make the pudding or custard of your choice and allow it to cool to at least room temperature.  Pour half of the mixture over the first layer and spread it out evenly, again making sure that it covers completely and comes to the edges of the bowl.

3. The third layer is a little less then half of the fruit.  Arrange around the outside edges first to create a pattern along the glass.  Then fill in the center, scattering the fruit around so that there is some in each scoop.
* If using dried fruit reconstitute by bringing to a boil in the liquor, turning off the heat and allowing it to sit for about 30 min, remove and chill until room temperature, drain liquid before using.

4. Now half of the whipped cream is spread evenly in a thick layer over the fruit.  At this point you should be able to see four distinct layers forming a pattern along the edge of the bowl.

5. Repeat the layers again, starting with the "cake," remembering to reserve a small amount of the fruit for the top if desired.  Once the second layer of whipped cream is in place, use the reserved fruit to make a design on top.  This will not work well if the fruit is frozen, but fresh or dried turns out quite lovely.

6.  Chill for at least 3-4 hours before serving, this can even be made the night before if using panettone or other heavier sweet breads/cakes.  It can then be taken out and kept in the center of the table as a centerpiece or among other desserts until served.

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