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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cook the Cover: Canadian Living April 2014

We're back! This time with a fresh trifle from the Canadian Living Test Kitchen.

Even though it doesn't feel like spring yet, this bright dessert will give you a little kick to your step. Plan ahead for this showstopper and make the orange vanilla bean custard and rhubarb sauce the night before. After the custard and sauce are chilled overnight, you can assemble the dessert in the morning and it'll be ready for dinner time!

You might already have some of these dessert staples in your kitchen - sugar, eggs, vanilla bean, milk, cornstarch - and would only have to pick up the fresh fruits, juice, and pound cake. And, if you don't have a trifle bowl (like me), I'll show you a different presentation approach! So needless to say, I was pretty excited to tackle this recipe because I've never made a trifle before and never worked with rhubarb either.

Layered Strawberry Rhubarb Trifle
Shopping List: strawberries, vanilla pound cake, oranges, whipping cream, sugar, vanilla bean, eggs, milk, cornstarch, rhubarb, and orange juice.

I love making vanilla bean custard, it always feels like magic when you can see something transform right before your eyes. Keep whisking and the custard will turn thick.
This is what ". . . thick enough to mound on spoon . . ." looks like. And do you see the glorious vanilla bean specks?
Rhubarb! I have never bought or cooked rhubarb before. I hear it is quite tasty and it took me two grocery store visits before finding it (Loblaws had a bunch). They weren't labeled on the shelf so I took the precaution to ask store workers and shoppers to confirm that I was holding rhubarb. It looks like red celery with lettuce-like leaves. I also had to look up how to clean and prepare it. Just give it a good scrub in cold water and cut off the leaves and the bottom of the stalk. Whatever you do, don't eat the leaves!
Cut them up into 1 cm pieces.
VoilĂ ! Rhubarb sauce! The middle melts away when you're cooking it, leaving only the bright red and stringy outer layer.
So, no trifle bowl? Make individual sized trifles with mason jars or glass cups! I used a round cookie cutter on the pound cake.
Drop it in your jar.
Drizzle with rhubarb sauce.
Top with strawberries.
Cover with orange vanilla bean custard and start again with the pound cake slice.
I was able to get three slices of pound cake in there. Try to leave the top garnished with strawberries. With this method, I was able to make six jars of trifle.
When ready to serve, dig in! Would I recommend sharing this delicious trifle? Yes. Two can enjoy one mason jar of trifle. But . . . one can also polish it off too. I've tried it both ways, a dessert all for myself and I shared it with Howard too. Depends how hungry you are!

I think it was a successful first run with rhubarb. I'll have to try it by itself next time since I wasn't sure if it really shined with the orange juice mixed into it.

The orange vanilla bean custard is a winner and if you want to go the extra mile and earn a gold star, make your own pound cake! Oh and if you want a prettier presentation? Make sure each layer touches the edge of your jar/glass/bowl so that the sauce and custard doesn't run down the sides. I was using chopsticks to help lay out the strawberry layers. It takes patience and practice to prevent the whole thing from looking like a jar of custard.

See what other bloggers thought about the recipe here.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Canadian Living and I received compensation for it. There was no requirement to produce a positive review of this recipe. All opinions are our own.

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