Monday, March 27, 2017

Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds


As much as I like going out to eat in restaurants, I love even more the intimacy of a meal shared with family and/or friends at home. Sometimes after traveling and eating out at restaurants for several days in a row, I long for a home-cooked meal. Even if that home-cooked meal is simply a plate of scrambled eggs topped with some goat cheese, a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off, or a container of pineapple yogurt topped with almonds and dried cranberries. In other words, home-cooked doesn't have to mean a three or four course meal or one taking all day or even days to make. It definitely doesn't have to be 'fancy' or 'gourmet', it just has to be satisfyingly good or whatever my current version of comfort food might happen to be. Whenever my niece stays overnight during one of her breaks from school or friends are in from out of town, I like to make at least one homemade meal for them. Something a little more than my simple versions of homemade. I don't usually make these homemade meals 'easy' on myself, however, I recently had one of those moments of clarity. You know, the moment when you finally see the obvious and come to realize (or rather truly believe) simplicity can be a really good thing.


This long overdue epiphany came after making brunch for some friends recently. Everything about the meal was simple. The table was set simply with my favorite white dishes and the menu consisted of only three things. Okay, so there might have been linen napkins and fresh flowers on the table, but if you lived in my world you would understand this was 'simple'.


After going through and trying to sort a bin of saved recipes (not a simple endeavor), I rediscovered the recipe for a Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds. It was one a friend gave to my friend who gave it to me. As soon as I looked at it, I immediately knew it would be one of the three things I would make for the brunch.

I had almost forgotten how beautiful and delicious this fruit trifle was. Fortunately I was able to have my memory jogged. Granted this trifle might be a little more decadent than the fruit platter you might normally serve at a brunch, but we all need a little decadence in our lives. Some of us more than others.


The trifle can be made with any number of fruits or fruit combinations. Although strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries lend themselves to be the best fruit options. Use all of them or use at least a couple of them. The trifle would lack flavor, texture and taste dimension if you used only one fruit. Personally I think this is one of those 'the more the merrier' kind of trifles, so I used all four 'berries' when I made it. Equal amounts of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries create the perfect trifecta: color, texture and flavor. This trifle needs at least 3 pints (or 6 cups) of fresh fruit, although depending on your preferred fruit to whipped cream cheese/whipped cream ratio, 7 cups may be more to your liking.


The luscious, creamy, decadent other layer is made with cream cheese, whipping cream whipped to beautiful stiff peaks, confectionary sugar, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.


If you don't have a trifle bowl, use a clear bowl to alternately layer the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture with the fresh fruit. The first and last layers will be the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. Try to create at least 3 layers of fruit between the filling so that the fruit is evenly distributed when spooned out. You can completely finish the trifle with a full layer of the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture or pipe it along the edges of the bowl using a pastry bag fitted with the pastry tube of your choice.


The sugared slivered almonds are the trifle's proverbial finishing touch. In a pan of melted butter and sugar over medium-low heat, the almonds are sautéed until lightly golden. Once caramelized the sugared almonds are transferred to a piece of parchment paper and allowed to cool. You will have more than enough of the almonds for this trifle. Serve the 'extras' in a bowl on the side so everyone is sure to get some of the 'crunch'. They can be made the day before and stored in a sealed container.


You can make the Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds several hours before serving. It comes together relatively easily and takes less than 30 minutes to assemble.

Make this trifle for your next Sunday brunch or bring it to your next office/friend breakfast potluck. Okay, so this Fruit Trifle might not win any healthy awards, but it will for taste and presentation. And I promise it will be incredibly well received and devoured. Scouts honor.


This Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds paired incredibly well with freshly brewed coffee, a pitcher of orange juice, some roasted thick-cut bacon, and this Baked Praline French Toast Casserole. If there was a way to make this menu a little more festive, it would be to open up a bottle of champagne or prosecco and turn the pitcher of orange juice into mimosas. With Passover, Easter, graduation parties, birthdays, anniversary celebrations, Mother's Day, Father's Day or reunion gatherings coming in the weeks and months aheads, consider making this Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds your 'fruit' dish.

Recipe 
Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds
Serves 8-10 

Ingredients
6-7 cups (3-4 pints) fresh fruit (strawberries (cut into slices or wedges), raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
2 cups heavy whipping cream 
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectionary sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup slivered almonds
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions
Candied Almonds
1.  Sauté almonds in butter, adding sugar in after the almonds have sautéed for at least 2 minutes.
2. Continue sautéing until almonds are lightly browned.
3. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Very lightly sprinkle with some additional granulated sugar.
4. Allow almonds to cool completely. Note: Can be prepared a day ahead. Store in a sealed container until ready to use.)

Fruit Trifle
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Temporarily transfer mixture to a separate bowl.
2. In the bowl of standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy (approximately 2-3 minutes).
3. Add confectionary sugar and lemon juice into cream cheese. Beat until well blended.
4. Remove bowl from standing mixer and fold in whipped cream until well blended.
5. Beginning with the whipped cream cheese/cream, alternately layer the cream and fruit mixture, reserving enough of the cream mixture to pipe on top of the trifle. (Depending on the size of the trifle bowl, will have three to four layers of each.)
6. Using a pastry bag fitted with tip of choice, pipe reserved whipped cream cheese/cream along edges of the bowl.
7. Sprinkle candied almonds on top of whipped cream. Note: You will not use all of the candied almonds if you only pipe the whipped cream cheese/cream along the sides of the trifle bowl. Serve remaining almonds on the side when serving the trifle. 
8. Serve immediately or refrigerate several hours before serving.

Notes: (1) The original recipe also suggested the trifle could be made with green or red seedless grapes. It could, but I really think berries work so much better. (2) The trifle is best served to 'company' on the day it is made, but leftovers continue to be delicious the next day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment