It’s the first bite that stops you in your tracks. With just a smidgen of sweet liqueur soaking into the spongy cake, this delicate Raspberry Trifle bursts with the flavors of fresh berries against a tangy cream filling dusted with bittersweet chocolate. Oh yeah, this is a keeper!
Ok, so you’ve heard me say it before: I am not much of a pastry chef. But I do enjoy the creative challenge of creating desserts that are both dramatic to look at and delicious to eat. Oh, and easy, too. The “easy” part is actually the story behind the idea for my Raspberry Trifle that is more of a construction project than a recipe.
As I walked into the produce section of my local supermarket, I stopped to inspect the strawberries that unfortunately were not up to my standards. Louisiana strawberry season had peaked, and these were out-of-town berries that were no match for our Ponchatoula beauties.
But the raspberries were spectacular; I grabbed two cartons. And there next to them was a neatly stacked end cap full of packaged madeleine cookies and containers of sponge cake. Instant inspiration! These delicate butter cookies with their distinctive shell shape are a French classic made from a génoise batter. And just like sponge cake, I like how they absorb any flavors that they touch—a perfect platform for building my dessert.
I guess I could have made the usual cake+berries+whipped cream shortcake recipe, but I decided to up the ante and create an elegant masterpiece. English trifles, French charlottes, or French-Canadian bagatelles are constructed desserts layered with fresh fruit, cake, and cream filling. Sometimes alcohol is used, sometimes not. Rox and I have made them before (see this Mason jar recipe), and I like the balance of flavors achieved with this approach.
To me, cooking is an art form as sure as paint on canvas. And with this dessert, I choose to paint with a splash of Grand Marnier, a dollop of sculptured cream, a brushstroke of shaved chocolate, and a garnish of fresh mint.
Nothing to bake here! With an hour to chill where all the flavors come together, this Raspberry Trifle is ready for its unveiling.
- 1 sponge cake
- 6 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 package of madeleine cookies
- 2 ½ cups crema or whipped cream
- 2 packets stevia or 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated bittersweet chocolate
- Sprig of fresh mint
- In a decorative glass trifle bowl, line the bottom with thick slices of sponge cake to come halfway up the side of the vessel. Drizzle the cake slices with 4 tablespoons of the liqueur and the orange juice.
- Place the madeleine cookies along the edge of the glass bowl with the shell-shaped side facing outward.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the crema with 2 packets of stevia and the remaining 2 tablespoons of liqueur. Pour 2 cups of the crema into the center of the trifle bowl and reserve the remaining ½ cup.
- Arrange the raspberries on top of the crema and garnish with the remaining crema. Sift over the grated chocolate powder and garnish with a sprig of mint. Chill for 1 hour and serve.
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