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Oct 02, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: Faith Durand’s Blueberry Angel Food Trifle

June 28th 03:06pm, 2014

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When summer hits St. Louis, we stay cool by any means necessary – and that includes avoiding the oven. Who wants to add extra degrees to an already hot kitchen? Faith Durand, executive editor of The Kitchn and author of the new cookbook, Bakeless Sweets, couldn’t agree more. The recipes in this book disavow the oven in favor of the refrigerator, the freezer, and in a few cases, the assistance of the stove. And who knew there were so many no-bake desserts to choose from? Durand divides her book into seven chapters: stirred puddings and custards; rice, tapioca and whole-grain puddings; panna cotta and other gelled puddings; mousse and blended puddings; real fruit jellies; whipped cream desserts and fluffs; and icebox cakes, pies, trifles and cookies.

With Fourth of July right around the corner and berry season in full swing, I decided to prepare Durand’s Blueberry Angel Food Trifle. To keep things patriotic, I substituted half the blueberries for juicy red strawberries (which also happen to be my Kryptonite).

 

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The homemade pudding was the best part of the trifle by far. Do not cheat and reach for the boxed stuff, as tempting as it may be. I promise the extra effort required for Durand’s Rich Vanilla Pudding is well worth it; I found myself wishing I had doubled the recipe to eat again later.

 

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Pudding novices like me can handle this recipe; Durand outlines every step clearly and concisely. Have a good whisk ready, as you will use it during almost every step. My biggest fear was tempering the slurry, but I followed the directions exactly and was rewarded with a bubbling custard that smelled “like the best vanilla ice cream ever,” according to my kid sister.

 

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After the adult-task of making the pudding is complete, kid sous chefs love to help layer the cake and sprinkle the fruit, as my sister did. After tasting the trifle, I wish the cake cubes were a little smaller (bite-sized pieces would have made for easier eating), but the larger pieces supported all the pudding and fruit well, even two days after creating it. This treat was sweet, refreshing, and most important, cold – a perfect summer dessert.

 

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Blueberry Angel Food Trifle
8 servings

About 8 cups (12- to 16-oz.) cubed angel food cake,
1 batch Rich Vanilla Pudding, well chilled (Recipe follows.)
4 cups blueberries
2/3 cup cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• Spread about one-third of the cake cubes in the bottom of a large trifle bowl (or any deep 3- to 4-quart bowl). Spread about one-third of the pudding over the cubes and top with one-quarter of the blueberries. Repeat twice, finishing with the third layer of pudding.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it holds soft peaks. Spread it over the top and garnish with the remaining blueberries. Refrigerate the trifle for at least 2 hours, or up to 24, before serving.

Rich Vanilla Pudding
8 Servings

¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
1½ cup cream
3 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• Make a cornstarch and egg yolk slurry: Put the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl and whisk out any lumps. Slowly whisk in the cream, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in the egg yolks. It is important that this mixture be as smooth as you can make it. (To be really sure, reach into the bowl and gently rub out any lumps with your fingers.).
• Warm the milk and open a vanilla bean: Warm the milk with the sugar over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, if you are using the vanilla bean*, open and scrape it out into the pan. Whisk the mixture so the vanilla seeds are incorporated into the liquid. (It should looked speckled, like milk after an Oreo has been dunked in it repeatedly!) When the vanilla bean has been scraped out, drop the entire pod into the milk as well. Warm until bubbles form around the edge of the milk and the entire surface begins to vibrate. Remove the vanilla bean and discard it. Turn off the heat.
• Temper the slurry: Pour 1 cup of the hot milk into the bowl with the slurry. Whisk vigorously to combine. The mixture should come together smoothly, with no lumps. If you see any, add a little more liquid and whisk them out. Pour the combined mixture back into the pot slowly, counting to 10 as you do and whisking vigorously.
• Thicken the pudding: Turn the heat back on to medium. As the milk comes to a simmer, stir constantly but slowly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan evenly so that the milk doesn’t scorch or form a thick skin on the bottom of the pan. In 2 to 5 minutes, the custard will come to a boil, with large bubbles that slowly pop up to the surface. Boil, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes.
• Flavor the pudding: Turn off the heat. (If you didn’t use a vanilla bean, stir in the vanilla extract now.)
• Chill the pudding: Immediately pour the hot custard into a shallow container. Place plastic wrap or buttered wax paper directly on the surface of the pudding (if you don’t like pudding skin). Put a lid on the dish and refrigerate it. This pudding is firm enough to be eaten warm after 30 minutes or so in the refrigerator.

*To scrape a vanilla bean, lay the bean flat on a cutting board and use a small, sharp pairing knife to make a slit down its entire length. Splay it open with your fingers over the pot of warming milk, and run the tip of a spoon (or the knife, carefully) down the length of the bean to thoroughly scrape out the paste of tiny seeds inside.

Reprinted with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang

What’s the best no-bake dessert you’ve ever made? Tell us about it in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Bakeless Sweets.

And now, congratulations to Earen, whose comment on last week’s By the Book won a copy of Extra Virgin. Earen, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

By Mary Baker

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6 Responses to “By the Book: Faith Durand’s Blueberry Angel Food Trifle”

  1. Ashley Hayworth Says:
    July 4th, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    My mom’s no bake cheesecake!

  2. Chaquita Says:
    July 4th, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Dark chocolate mousse is always so much fun to make.

  3. Gail Luther Says:
    July 4th, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    The best would probably be chocolate sauce to pour over ice cream. The Mom 100 cookbook has an awesome one.

  4. Lauren Says:
    July 4th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    The best no-bake dessert I’ve made was Joy Wilson’s (Joy the Baker) salty and malty brown butter (Rice Krispy) treats. They take less than ten minutes to make, come together entirely on the stove, and are just sophisticated enough with the additions of browned butter, sea salt, and malt powder. It’s a challenge not to eat the contents of the whole pan!

  5. Michelle Says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 8:39 am

    The best no bake dessert I’ve made is a key lime pie that doesn’t require baking, but sure is delicious.

  6. Kat Says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I love no-bake icebox cakes. Simple chocolate wafers and whipped cream. Not really sophisticated, but brings me back to my childhood and definitely a treat everyone enjoys.

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