These pretty little trifles appeal to any age group—it all depends on what style of serving glass you use. The only specification I give is that the glasses must be crystal clear, so they show off the red berries against the cool and pale layers of creamy custard. To add a little crunch, sprinkle the filled glasses with lightly crushed amaretti cookies before you top with the remaining fruit.
2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 extra-large egg yolks
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
5 ounces each strawberries, raspberries and red currants stripped from stems (about 1 heaped cup each), plus 8 small sprays of red currants on their stems
- 1 tablespoon creme de cassis
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, or to taste
Put the milk into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the milk along with the bean and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining sugar together in a bowl. Slowly pour in the hot milk, stirring all the time to prevent the eggs from scrambling. When fully incorporated, rinse out the pan. Strain the custard mixture back into the clean pan and return to low heat. Whisk until the custard thickens—this usually occurs just before the simmering point. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, stirring every once in a while to prevent a skin from forming.
Once the custard has cooled, whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the custard to lighten it. Chill for a few hours, or overnight if preparing in advance.
Cut 4 attractive strawberries into quarters and set aside with the sprays of red currants. Put the rest of the strawberries, the raspberries and stripped red currants into a large bowl along with the creme de cassis and confectioners' sugar. Crush the fruit with a potato masher or a large fork to get a compote-like texture.
To assemble the trifles, spoon some custard into 8 small dessert glasses, to fill the bottom third. Spoon a layer of fruit into each serving glass, then top with the remaining custard. If you have any left, spoon a little juice from the crushed fruit over the custard, then garnish with the reserved strawberry quarters and red-currant sprays.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.
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