We had company for dinner yesterday, and my husband Bruce offered to make a trifle for dessert. This was a first. He has made cakes, pies and crisps, but never a trifle.
I had other things to do, so I readily agreed. He gathered the ingredients and agonized over the procedure. I am a fast and loose cook, and he is a rigid recipe-follower, so trifle (a fast and loose dessert if I ever saw one) was perhaps not the best choice, but eventually we did come up with a game plan.
- Prepare the cake (a failed cake that was living in the freezer waiting for its reincarnation as trifle) by spreading it with jam and cutting it into cubes. Bruce did this under supervision.
- Place cake cubes in pretty glass bowl. Much agony ensued because he was sure we didn’t have enough cake. ( I thought we would need to invite more neighbours over because we would surely have trifle for 20.)
- Sprinkle cake with Grand Marnier and orange juice to achieve the right degree of moistness. This was a shared responsibility, as was sampling.
- Make the custard sauce. After much consultation about how long to stir and how to tell when the custard was ready, he surveyed the pot and declared that we didn’t have enough. He said it was lumpy. I kept saying things like “It’s just a trifle!”, but he was unconvinced. He made a second batch and used both.
- Spread the raspberries. This went well.
- Top with whipped cream. Whipping the cream was a learning experience, but he got the hang of it. In the end, we had much too much, but really, can you ever have too much whipped cream?
- Add the garnish. I offered to toast almonds but got distracted and let them burn. “Fast and loose” is not always a good policy in the kitchen, even with a trifle. He shooed me away and finished the job.
When it was time for dessert, the trifle was greeted with great enthusiasm. It was sublime, and almost everyone had seconds. The custard sauce was the best part, and our guests praised the pastry chef.
I deserved none of this, because I was just the coach. I was at home for the day and could offer my two cent’s worth as required: I gave instructions, and my husband did the work. And he does it so much better….