Saturday, December 25, 2010

just a trifle.

Merry Christmas! And Christmas means finger-lickin' dinners with food as far as your eye can see and most importantly, dessert! At my house, we have rather limited space, so desserts that can be eaten without having to sit at the dinner table would be more convenient when guests come around. A trifle in individual glasses sounded perfect to me, and that's how this trifle was born.

Let me take you through the makings. First, we have a genoise brushed with syrup and then cubed.
Pastry cream.
Palm sugar roasted pineapple. I took this recipe from one of the library books I borrowed. It's really simple, actually. Cube the pineapple, throw palm sugar in the saucepan and cook it together on high heat with the pineapple until it's liquified. Then lower down the heat and simmer until all the mixture is dry. Drops of vanilla go in and you're pretty much done.
Repeat with more cake and pastry cream.
Chantilly cream and salt and pepper cashew nuts dragees!
The dragees are caramelized cashews along with, you guessed it, salt and pepper as well as sesame oil. See how this trifle is taking on an asian twist?

I have to say I'm getting this caramel thing down. Not too long ago, I would have skipped a recipe just because it requires a caramel something. But seriously, how difficult is throwing sugar and water in a pan and staring at a candy thermometer until it reaches the required temperature?
The pastry cream was kind of a solid lump because it was refrigerated so it set. I think a creme anglaise would be better since it isn't so thick. That way, it can remain beautifully flowy. And the cashew nuts were oh my god, so good! They were, of course, crunchy. But not just that. After the crunch, it somehow dissolved in a cloud of lightness, carrying with it a bittersweet caramelized flavour. Unfortunately, the salt, pepper and sesame oil didn't come through enough to make for an interesting flavour profile but the nuts were already so droolicious I couldn't be disappointed.

I've never assembled a trifle before and I loved it! It's so much fun! Layering all the different components and letting them come together with just a scoop of a spoon, and you can't go wrong with presentation. Besides, anything in a bowl, or in this case, glass, and a spoon spells comfort. And it's a good way to use up leftover cake!

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