Strawberry shortcake cookie trifle is ideal for Mother's Day
With the abundance of fresh strawberries this spring, I could not resist the temptation to develop a recipe around this versatile first fruit of the season for Mother's Day. (In last week's column, I indicated that I would share a sauce recipe for the lamb loin this week, but I will feature that soon.)
This recipe is really a hybrid of an English trifle and a strawberry shortcake. The shortcake "cookie" recipe I use is the same for an apple tarte tatin dough or a fruit cobbler. The use of dessert wine in the recipe is optional, or you can use brandy, cognac or rum instead.
We will be serving this recipe for Mother's Day brunch at Café Collage starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE COOKIE TRIFLE
Serves four to six
3 cups flour
1⁄2 cup organic sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
6 ounces chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
3 small baskets of fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup local blackberry or wildflower honey
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
6 farm-fresh egg yolks (reserve the whites in a separate bowl)
1 cup blackberry honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For whipped cream:
2 cups whipping cream
1⁄4 cup blackberry honey (I get it from the Highway 20 produce store located between Marysville and Browns Valley)
Optional: 1 cup dessert wine
Putting it together
Prepare dough: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs. Pulse until the ingredients are mixed together. Gradually add the butter while pulsing. Add the heavy cream and pulse until combined. Remove the dough from the container and knead it lightly to finish the mixing. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll each portion into a log 2 inches in diameter. (If needed, add a bit of flour to make the dough firmer.) Wrap them in plastic and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Select a baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Get the dough rolls from the freezer and unwrap them. Using a sharp knife cut the roll into 1⁄2-inch disks and place them on the baking pan at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Only one side will be crunchy.
Prepare strawberries: Place sliced strawberries in a medium bowl; top with the honey and lemon juice and gently stir until the strawberries are coated.
Make custard: Put the egg yolks, honey and vanilla in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water. Make sure the bowl fits the top of the pot without touching the water. Whisk the mixture for five to eight minutes, or until it thickens while remaining smooth. Be cautious not to overcook the custard.
As soon as the mixture is firm and silky, put the stainless bowl over another bowl of ice and a bit of water and keep whisking until the custard cools and stops cooking. Keep custard refrigerated or over ice.
Make whipped cream: Pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Add the honey and whip at high speed for three to five minutes, or until the cream is thick, soft and silky. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl. Keep refrigerated or over ice.
To prepare the individual servings, it is important to select the right glasses. Martini glasses do not work because the bottom is too narrow. You need to find glasses (ideally with a stem) that have a flat bottom with at least a 3-inch diameter.
To assemble the trifles, place two of the baked dough circle "cookies" tightly together at the bottom of each glass. Break the second cookie so you can fill the empty space. Pour a bit of dessert wine over the cookies. Add a thin layer of the egg custard and spread it evenly. Place the sliced strawberries tightly together on top. Add some whipped cream and spread it to cover the berries.
Add another layer of shortbread cookies with a touch of dessert wine poured over the top, then the egg custard, then another layer of strawberries and finally a layer of whipped cream topped with a single slice of strawberry for garnish.
Refrigerate the trifles for few hours or up to two days to allow the flavors to settle. Happy Mother's Day!