Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trifles in a Cup


Cup Desserts are fun.  Not only are they fast, they can qualify as pure, real food when you pick the right ingredients.  More and more it is easy to find natural puddings and cookies and cakes made from good ingredients at the market.   These are the building blocks of the trifles.  With a little more time, you can make the puddings, cakes and cookies that form the bases of these splendid little treats layers with fresh or frozen fruits. 

Like a sundae bar, each person can make their own with cake, pudding and fruit ingredients laid out for easy assembly.  These look really attractive in clear, wide glasses so each guest can enjoy the layered parfait effect.  Small bowls are fine too. 

Here are three choices to present all together or as the season dictates. 

Strawberries are coming in now so the Strawberry Cheesecake-Shortcake Trifle is perfect from Memorial Day on.  The cheesecake mousse is a simple mixture of cream cheese, Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese sweetened with honey and flavored with lemon juice and vanilla.  The crumbled cookie base is shortbread.  Good quality, easy to find store brands are made from flour, salt, sugar and real butter, just like you would make.*  You can also use graham crackers. 

Frozen fruit works fine for these too so you don’t have to wait until later in the summer to try the Rice Pudding Cherry Chocolate Trifle.  If you make your own rice pudding, this is a divine way to use the last mouthfuls of a large baked pudding.  Alternatively excellent quality rice pudding is available at the super market in tub or individual serving sizes.

And Chocolate Angel Trifles are always in season.  Like rice pudding, chocolate pudding used here is available at the super market.  For a special dinner, you could make your own chocolate mousse.  (See blog entry on 9/17/2010 for Julia Child’s recipe with only six ingredients.)


Rice Pudding Cherry Crumble
Per person
4-5 amaretti cookies (graham crackers or vanilla wafers can be substituted)
½ cup rice pudding
½ cup cherries macerated in a teaspoon of honey or sugar and few drops almond extract.  (Fruit may be served warm.)
Garnishes: sliced toasted almonds, shaved dark chocolate (or roughly chopped)
Optional: Amarreto liqueur

Method
  1. Start with a layer of cookie, 2-3 crushed amaretti at the bottom of a wide glass.   
  2. Follow with a tablespoon of fruit and some of the fruit juices.  If using liqueur, sprinkle a little on the cookies and fruit to help moisten the cookie layer.    
  3. Next, scoop on a few tablespoons of pudding. 
  4. Continue to layer until all the ingredients are used.   
  5. Garnish with shaved or chopped chocolate and almonds.

Chocolate Angel Cup
Per person
1-inch slice angel food cake, cut into bite-sized squares
½ cup chocolate pudding or mousse
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
Garnishes: toasted walnuts, mini-marshmallows
Optional: Chocolate sauce, whipped cream

Method
  1. Start with the cake layer.  Line the bottom of a wide glass with cake squares.   
  2. Add a layer of pudding and any garnishes and mix-ins: chocolate chips, marshmallows, nuts.   
  3. Continue to layer until all the ingredients are used.   
  4. Top with chocolate sauce or whipped cream.

Strawberry Cheesecake-Shortcake Trifle
Per person
3 shortbread cookies
½ cup Cheesecake “Mousse” (see direction below)
½ cup strawberries macerated with a tablespoon of orange juice or a squeeze of lemon, a teaspoon of honey or sugar and few drops vanilla extract
Optional: whipped cream

Method
  1. Start with a layer of cookie at the bottom of a wide glass or small dessert bowl.  Use at least one crushed shortbread for this layer.  
  2.  Follow with a tablespoon of fruit and some of the fruit juices. 
  3. Next, scoop on a few tablespoons of the cheesecake “mousse.” 
  4. Continue to layer until all the ingredients are used.   Finish with a layer of strawberries.
  5. Garnish whipped cream and a strawberry slice.

Cheesecake “Mousse”
Serves 2 generously, recipe can be doubled
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sour cream or “Greek” yogurt
2-3 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
  1. Combine the cheeses and sour cream (or yogurt) together.  Whip with a fork to get a smooth and light consistency.   
  2. Mix in the vanilla and part of the honey.  Add more honey slowly, until you are happy with the sweetness.  The mousse is a contrast to the strawberries so if your berries are very sweet, hold back on the sweetness in the mousse. 

*To make your own shortbread, use the simple recipe that everyone swears by.  Click here for the link.