Monday, October 12, 2009

Black Forest Cherry Trifle

If you like chocolate covered cherries, and I mean real chocolate covered cherries - not the artificially flavored kind you find at the drug store during the holidays, but real cherries covered in real chocolate - then you will love this black forest cherry trifle. Be warned - it's very rich, very chocolaty and sure to send your blood sugar levels through the roof....but it is worth it!

Start by making the custard as it will need time to cool and during the cooling process you can assemble the remainder of your trifle ingredients.

Melt 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate in a double broiler....set aside.

Combine 1/3 cup cocoa and 1/2 cup sugar, sifting well to remove all lumps. Add 7 egg yolks and whisk together until well combined.

Combine 1/3 cup heavy cream, 1/3 cup milk and 1 tsp. vanilla in a large saucepan heating until just beginning to steam; add the cocoa and egg yolk mixture and whisk well to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly for about ten minutes - do not walk away from it!

After the custard has begun to thicken, add the melted bittersweet chocolate and stir well to combine. Pour into a bowl to cool and prevent a "skin" from forming by covering custard with plastic wrap.

Now, you're ready to assemble the rest of your ingredients....

You'll need some cake. A nice dark chocolate cake works best, but you could easily use your favorite chocolate cake at the moment.

You can make this in a full-size trifle dish as well....I chose the mini trifle because they're cute and...I like cute. Turn the mini trifle upside down to score the cake and cut accordingly...

Mini trifle dishes are lacking in stature and your initial cake round will be quite high, so you'll need to cut the cake circles in half and then in half again, resulting in a total of eight rounds of cake....

Make sandwiches by slathering on cherry preserves and smushing a second cake round on top (yes, "smushing" is a made-up word) - this will be the first layer in your trifle...

Gently smash a cake sandwich into the bottom of each trifle dish and top with a drizzle of cherry brandy. If you have an aversion to alcohol or, as in my case, you happen to be pregnant and think avoiding fetal alcohol syndrome is probably a good idea, then you can use the cherry syrup from your jar of maraschino cherries. Next, layer with maraschino cherries and then chocolate custard. Cover and chill for at least an hour or even overnight. Top with freshly whipped cream just before serving.

Black Forest Cherry Trifle
(makes 4 mini trifles or one full-size trifle*)

1 9-inch round chocolate cake
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate*
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
7 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large jar maraschino cherries
1 jar cherry preserves
2 cups heavy whipping cream for whipping*

Melt chocolate in double broiler, set aside. Combine cocoa, sugar and egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together well. Combine milk, heavy cream and vanilla in a large saucepan and heat until just beginning to simmer. Stir in cocoa and egg yolk mixture. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat for about ten minutes or until thickened. Stir in melted bittersweet chocolate and pour custard into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from from forming as custard cools. Set aside while you assemble your cake.

Cut chocolate cake into small rounds that fit easily into the bottom of your mini trifle dish. Each round should measure no more than 1/2 inch high, so trim accordingly. Sandwich cherry preserves between 2 1/2-inch rounds and press into the bottom of your trifle dish. Top with cherry brandy or liquid from maraschino cherries. Layer maraschino cherries on top and cover with chocolate custard. Cover and chill for at least an hour or overnight. Top with freshly whipped cream just before serving.

*Live-It-Up Variation: Can substitute semi-sweet chocolate to result in a milk chocolate flavor if dark chocolate is not your preference. If using a full-size trifle, split 9-inch round cake in half horizontally and make one large cherry sandwich. Dress up your whipped cream topping with chocolate shavings or red sprinkles.