|Bertie waits for his serving.|
Crisalli, as I've pointed out on previous St. Patrick's days, is not an Irish name. But, everyone's Irish today. Bertie and I visited my parents this past weekend for a pre-St. Patrick's Day feast and we all sat down to enjoy a traditional Irish feast of heart-warming beef strew. Tender chunks of beef in a thick, rich gravy infused with Guinness, blended with the savory flavors of seasoned potatoes, carrots and peas in this lovely, comforting stew. Herbed pasta, a hearty side of perfectly caramelized Brussels sprouts and a lovely rustic bread rounded out the meal.
For dessert, we indulged in a United Kingdom favorite--served up in Irish style. Trifle!
This classic English desert is known as much for its rich flavor as it is for its beauty. The first trifles were made in England in the late Sixteenth Century, though this version of the dessert was flavored with rosewater and didn’t feature cream. Over time, trifles evolved, becoming grander, creamier, and more attractive—usually presented in a tall glass or high-sided, footed bowl which allows the lucky recipient to view the many layers of delight that away him with each spoonful.
Typically a trifle consists of layers of fruit, cream and cake and is almost exclusively flavored with some kind of alcohol. The Scots call their trifle “Tipsy Laird.” The Italians refer to it as “Zuppa Inglese” (English Soup). In the United States, the Southern “Tipsy Cake” is a cousin to trifle while in New Orleans, a “Creole Trifle” involves a variety of cakes mixed together with fruit and liquor-infused cream.
This past weekend, as we celebrated St. Patrick's day, we enjoyed some delectable trifle. My mother’s version is a combination of the traditional English trifle which slightly leans toward the “Creole Trifle.” Here, we have layers of gorgeous homemade lemon and vanilla pound cake which are interspersed with Chantilly Cream and a coulis of raspberries and blackberries. The coulis features whole raspberries, blueberries and blackberries which have been glazed with a fruit reduction.
This sweet sauce makes the fruit glisten as well as adds moisture to the cake which, when combined with the cream, gives the whole trifle a pudding-like texture.
My mother made individual trifles in single servings which look quite nice and give the eater a sense of pride and ownership which I always find appealing in food. I come from the “that’s mine” school of eating (not unlike a dog, I suppose).
The top of each was adorned with piped whipped cream, and a slice of kiwi--cut into a perfect shamrock shape. Now, that's the luck of the Irish!
On Wednesday, we'll be having a second "Treat of the Week," as we celebrate St. Joseph's Day!