Not just a trifle…

Some good friends came over for a visit the other day and brought us a bunch of fresh cherries and some gorgeous paper snowflakes.

They are hanging on our chandelier in the dining room and will welcome the first real snowflakes that fall from our Oklahoma skies. The cherries however, will not last nearly as long because I found a gem of a recipe. We all think so. I’m only sharing it with you because that’s what recipes are for and just because it’s probably the best dessert you’ll ever have in your life.
I happened upon it while googling around for cherry desserts. Way back in 1999 some amazing person put this recipe in Bon Appetit under the title of Cherry-Almond Trifle. Why they use a word like “trifle” to name something like this, I’ll never know… unless it was a trick to keep people who didn’t know how good it was from eating it! Ah-ha! The truth unveiled! 
Now, I’m going to copy the recipe here, but I don’t want you to get discouraged by how long it is. It’s really not that difficult.  Notice that the directions say to begin preparing this at least a day ahead. You can probably guess that I didn’t exactly do that. I started around 2:00 and we ate it for dessert that night. However, cakes are always better the next day, so definitely do what they say, not what I do, okay?
The most time-consuming part is pitting 5 cups of cherries. And let me tell ya’, your fingers will be stained for days! 
So, here goes –
Serves 10-12,  or so they say. 

For jam
  • 2 cups fresh cherries (about 12 ounces), pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For cake

  • 1 7-ounce package almond paste, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For custard

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used almond extract instead of vanilla and it was amazing!)
  • 2 cups half and half

  • 3 cups fresh cherries (about 18 ounces), pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Cherries with stems
  • Slivered almonds, toasted


Make jam:
Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until jam is thick, stirring often, about 22 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.
Make cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom with parchment; butter parchment. Blend almond paste and sugar in processor until mixture resembles fine meal, about 1 minute. Add butter and vanilla and blend well, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Using on/off turns, blend in flour, baking powder and salt (do not overmix). Transfer batter to prepared pan. Place pan on baking sheet; bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and top is golden, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Cover; let stand at room temperature 1 day.
Make custard:
Whisk 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Beat in yolks and vanilla. Gradually whisk in half and half. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens and boils. Transfer to bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; chill 1 day.
Cut around pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers; discard parchment. Spoon thin layer of custard over bottom of 3- to 3 1/2-quart trifle bowl. Trim 1 cake layer to fit, if necessary; place in bowl. Spread with 1/3 of custard. Mix chopped cherries into jam. Spoon 1/3 of jam mixture atop custard; spread to edge of bowl so that jam shows. Top with second cake layer, half of remaining custard and half of remaining jam mixture; spread to edge of bowl. Top with third cake layer. Spread with remaining custard, then jam mixture.
Beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe cream in center of trifle. Pipe rosettes around edge; top rosettes with whole cherries. Sprinkle trifle with almonds. Cover; chill at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. 
 Look closely at the table and you will see the shadows of the snowflakes in the background. 

Last bite…errr…serving!

3 thoughts on “Not just a trifle…

  1. This was the absolutely best dessert I have ever eaten in my entire life!Had a little taste the second day, I think this was definitely better the first day, in my opinion… :)

  2. Pingback: Birthday… | Stir It Up!

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