Around about when I started high school my mother started making this angel food cake and fruit trifle when she had “special events” in the summer. Before I found out what went into the creation of this trifle I thought it was the coolest dessert in the world and could not believe my mother had figured out how to concoct it. Then sometime in college I got the recipe and understood why my mother would “take the pains” to make it. She really only had to use one bowl and one spoon to make the filling and everything else was pretty much pre-assembled.
This in no way negates the wonderful deliciousness of that recipe, and it’s one I hope to share with you when summer rolls around and all the pretty fruits come out. Because, as I mentioned before, I heartily dislike fruit but if you dress ’em up in fancier clothes you will probably get me to eat them.
It wasn’t until I had moved to New York, however, that I realized my mother’s trifle wasn’t the only variety out there. You could actually make trifle with chocolate. Now, I’m not a huge chocolate fan. I like me some good dark chocolate from time to time and if it has crispies in it I might duel you for a piece, but if the words “Death by…” or “Triple” ever come into the same sentence as “chocolate” I will spin on my heels and run away faster than you can blink an eye. That might actually be a good tactic to get me to run faster in all these half-marathons I have coming up. [Put that in the noodle and think on it]
Too much chocolate in one setting terrifies me to no end. I just picture gummy globs of chocolate stuck to the roof of my mouth without milk and then Augustus Gloop pops into my head and I imagine I’m actually drowning in a river of chocolate. It’s awful, I don’t wish that upon anybody.
So in my opinion the easiest and best way to lighten up a chocolate dessert is airy, booze-soaked cake. And the idea of a Bushwhacker trifle was just so easy to imagine after the mini cakes. Now, if the mini cakes in the last post and the alarming amount of sugar startled you, then perhaps this would be a better recipe for you to try. It has a delicious, creamy, but not over powering chocolate pudding layer that envelops in a loving pillow like hug layers of Kahula soaked sponge cake scraps and topped with a hearty dollop of vanilla bean infused whipped cream. What this lacks in sugar and sweetness it more than makes up for in dreamy textures, and I mean that in the best way possible.
*Just a Note: My initial thought was to use the Kahula in the pudding itself, but I stupidly added it to the first recipe when I tested it out without removing some of the other liquids and my pudding didn’t gel. So instead I decided to soak the cakes to give them a little more presence and I’m glad I did. This pudding is amazing totally on it’s own and needs absolutely no help. It is made in a food processor and if you don’t have one large enough a blender might work just as well. Stirring this by hand may prove difficult as you add melted chocolate at the end which may not combine so well when stirring by hand. But a good hand mixer and a fine-meshed sieve should work in a pinch. Also it is important to use whole milk in pudding recipes like this because skim milk will affect the way your pudding gels at the end and may turn out more soupy than puddingy.
Pudding recipe direct from Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the pudding:
2 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
6 tbsp sugar, divided
2 tbsp unsweetend cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp butter, cut into cubes at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
Chop the chocolate roughly, but fine, and add to a double boiler to melt. If you don’t have a double boiler you can melt it in 30 second increments in the microwave stirring between each blast, or VERY CAREFULLY melt it on the lowest setting in a pot, removing it from the heat as soon as it’s all melted. Set aside.
Bring 2 cups of milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar to boil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat. Stir occasionally so the milk doesn’t scald.
While the milk is heating, blend the cocoa, cornstarch and salt in the food processor with a few pulses. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. Add the egg and egg yolks (whites can be frozen for a later use) and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar to the processor blend for about a minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and pulse to mix. Add the dry ingredients a pulse again a few times.
With the machine running, VERY SLOWLY add your hot milk mixture, this is another way to temper the eggs, if you add it too quickly they will scramble. The milk mixture will make your food processor very full, but don’t worry it’ll be fine. A little might leak out the bottom when you remove the bowl, but it’s nothing to fret over.
Once the milk mixture has been added completely, turn off the processor and return the mixture to the sauce pan. Put the processor back together, you’re going to need it again. Whisking constantly over medium heat, heat the mixture until it thickens. This takes about 2 minutes. Once it has begun to thicken continue whisking for another minute or but don’t let the mixture boil. If you stop stirring bubbles should rise to the top and pop.
Scrape the thickened mixture back into the food processor avoiding any scorched spots and pulse a few times. Add the chocolate, butter and vanilla and pulse until blended. Pour the pudding into individual ramekins or a large bowl. If you don’t want a skin to form place plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
For the Trifle
Leftover scraps of sponge cake (see recipe here)
3 tbsp Kahula
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp sugar
1 recipe of chocolate pudding
Rip the scraps of sponge cake into bite size pieces and place in a small bowl. Drizzle the Kahula over the scraps. Cover with plastic wrap and toss a few times to ensure all the pieces have been covered. Refrigerate for an hour, or until the pudding has set.
Place the heavy cream in a small bowl. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream, then toss in the bean. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, or until the pudding has set.
In a large bowl or in individual wine glasses, layer the chocolate pudding in the bottom, cover with a layer of cake scraps and then another layer of pudding until all the parts have been used up.
Pour the cream and vanilla beans into a large clean bowl. Remove the bean pods (you can wash these gently and dry them and use them to make vanilla sugar). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the cream and with a hand-held mixer beat on high just until it start foaming. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. DO NOT OVER BEAT or your cream will curdle.
Top each trifle with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkles of your choice.
If you don’t intend to use all the whipped cream it should keep for two days in the fridge. If your grocery store carries it I recommend adding “Whip It” while you beat your cream to ensure it’s stability if you intend to keep it for longer than a day. The trifle (without whipped cream) will keep in the fridge for a week.