Bad weather days require CHOCOLATE! Nothing improves my outlook on life like discovering new ideas for appreciating chocolate! This is a light dessert that’s relatively easy to make, but provides a very lovely presentation. Enjoy!
Notes: Make and cool pastry cream while cake bakes and cools. For a nonalcoholic version, substitute a hazelnut- or raspberry-flavor syrup for the liqueur; the trifle will be somewhat sweeter.
About 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup hazelnut- or coffee-flavor liqueur (see note)
Caramel Pastry Cream (See recipe below)
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 oz.), rinsed and drained
1. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Coarsely chop 3 ounces of the chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in a microwave oven on full power (100%), stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes total.
3. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1/2 cup butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate.
4. In another bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, stir to combine, then beat until well blended. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread level.
5. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until cake begins to pull from pan sides, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cake cool to room temperature in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. Run a thin knife between cake and pan sides and invert onto a board to release. Cut cake into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Layer a third of the cubes in the bottom of a 3- to 3 1/2-quart trifle bowl or other straight-sided glass bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup liqueur evenly over cake. Spoon a third of the Caramel Pastry Cream over cake and spread level. Repeat to make two more layers each of cake, liqueur, and pastry cream, ending with pastry cream. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
7. Finely chop remaining 1 ounce chocolate or scrape into curls. Arrange raspberries on trifle and sprinkle chocolate evenly over berries. Scoop onto dessert plates to serve.
Caramel Pastry Cream Recipe Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 2/3 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, tilt and stir sugar until melted and amber-colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour onto a sheet of foil (about 12 by 18 in.) and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Peel off foil and break caramel into chunks; put in a food processor or blender and whirl into a fine powder.
2. Combine milk and caramel powder in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan; stir over medium heat just until caramel is dissolved (it will form lumps, then melt; do not boil), 9 to 10 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks to blend. Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into yolks and whisk until blended, then whisk yolk mixture into pan and stir over medium-high heat just until mixture boils and thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Rub pastry cream through a fine strainer set over a bowl; discard residue. Cover pastry cream and chill about 1 hour, or nest bowl in ice water and stir until cool, about 30 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. Gently stir the whipped cream into the cool pastry cream.