Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Patriotic Trifle

I went to a family party and my uncle had made an incredibly delicious trifle. I finally tracked down the source of the recipe and yy cousin, Emily, was sweet to share this recipe with me. I thought it would be so fun to make a holiday version of this trifle for the upcoming summer holidays.

Trifles are so fun to make because you can make them anyway you like with whatever fruit is your favorite or in season. The pudding in this recipe goes well with any type of fruit. You can also use your favorite cake. My favorite is a vanilla sponge cake, but if you are short on time I actually love yellow cake with this.

Most of you know my addiction to vanilla beans and extract in baking. I usually use Madagascar beans in baking because they are so versatile, but this time I tried Tahitian vanilla beans. Tahitian vanilla beans have a slightly fruity undertone that I thought would pair perfectly with the fruit and pudding. This was the first time trying Tahitian vanilla beans and I have to say that it was quite a treat. The beans are gorgeous, moist, plump and chuck full of delicious vanilla caviar. I couldn't believe how huge these beans were and they did not disappoint in flavor.

I buy all of my beans at Beanilla. They are my favorite company to work with because they have impeccable customer service, fast shipping, the beans arrive perfectly every time and the taste of the beans is exceptional. They also have the best selection of gourmet vanilla beans for the best price. They also have a great selection of vanilla extract making supplies as well as baking extracts. Beanilla is the one-stop shopping place for vanilla beans and extract supplies. I can't tell you how much I love them.

My whole world stopped when I discovered their vanilla beans and I use them in my baking all the time. They just add that extra special layer of flavor that separates your baking from others' baking. Look how gorgeous these are. The Tahitian is on the left and the Madagascar on the right. Tahitian beans are more expensive, but you get a lot more paste out of one pod, so that balances out the price. If you are just starting with using vanilla beans in baking, I recommend starting with Madagascar beans since they are the most versatile in baking.

Tahitian bean (left), Madagascar bean (right)

This trifle will knock your socks off and you will have to resist grabbing the bowl to lap up any leftovers. The pudding in this recipe is ridiculously easy to make, it tastes incredible and people may be knocking down your door to get the recipe. Whomever thought of using sweetened condensed milk as a pudding base was a baking genius. It has a slightly caramel, banana-ish flavor and then when you add some vanilla beans---holy cow! So yum! It pairs beautifully with any fresh fruit, but I love it best with strawberries, bananas and blueberries. My husband is allergic to bananas (I almost killed him on our first date) so some of my pictures do not include bananas. If you aren't against (or allergic) to bananas, definitely add them to this trifle for sure. If you are making the trifle with bananas, make sure to assemble your trifle the day you want to serve it or your bananas will go kind of brown and watery. The pudding also takes a few hours to set up, so be mindful of that when you are planning. I usually prep the pudding and prepare the fruit and bake the cakes while the pudding is setting up.

Also, if you are short on time you can make (2) 8-in or 9-in round cakes (depending on the diameter of your trifle bowl) and use them whole instead of cubing the cake. I also like the look of the whole cake layer and it is quicker to assemble, too.

Here's what you need: (Slightly adapted from my cousin's recipe)
-(2) baked 9-in round cakes (bigger or smaller depending on the diameter of your bowl)
-1 lb of fresh strawberries, sliced
-1 lb of blueberries
-4 C ripe bananas, sliced
-2 TBS lemon juice

-(1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
-(1) 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding (I like Jello brand best)
-1 1/2 C ice cold water
-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1 Tahitian vanilla bean (sliced and vanilla caviar removed)
-4 C heavy cream, 1 C reserved after whipping

1. In a small mixing bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, cold water and vanilla and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute until well-combined. Add the pudding mix and continue beating for 2 more minutes. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and then use the back of a butter knife to scrape out of the vanilla beans. Add vanilla bean paste and beat until combine. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. It's important to allow plenty of time for the pudding to set up so that the consistency stays when you fold in the cream.

Look at that gorgeous vanilla bean paste!

2. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream (except one cup) into chilled pudding mixture until color is mainly uniform. Be careful avoid over-mixing.

3. Prepare fruit and slice. Toss sliced bananas with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Place first cake layer in the trifle bowl. Place bananas and berries right up against the glass all the way around (just for aesthetic purposes). Spoon pudding mixture on top of cake. Add a layer of berries and bananas on top of pudding. Repeat with the next layer of cake, put fruit up against the glass, spoon in a layer of pudding, another layer of bananas and berries, etc. Once trifle bowl is full, cover the top with the reserved whipped cream.

4. Make a decorative pattern on top of whipped cream with the fruit. I like to use strawberries around the bowl with a blueberry star in the middle.

Here are some other decorative ideas:

Trifle using whole cake layers. 

Love how this design turned out. So cute and festive! 

Enjoy and Happy Baking. This trifle will make a perfect addition to your 4th of July BBQ!

Here is the printable recipe.

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