Sunday, February 17, 2013

Insane Trifle

Trifles baffle me.  How on earth can they be so large?  This recipe is for a massive Japanese-inspired Neapolitan trifle.  I found the recipe for the lady fingers I made here.  As I made some changes to the recipe, I will post my process for making the lady fingers on my blog.
The procedure looks daunting as ever, but really, it takes three or four hours of speedy work from start to finish.
As a warning, this recipe requires a lot of bowls that are filled with almost identical ingredients.  In my ingredients section, I have a couple posts written like, "(x+y+z)cups".  They are meant to be read as, "x cups, y cups, z cups, in separate bowls".

Ingredients:

For the lady fingers:

♕(2+2 heaping+2 heaping+2.5)T/(18+20+20+16)g white flour, separated
1t/2g matcha
2t/4g cacao powder
1t/3.5mL vanilla extract
5 strawberries, juiced, no pulp




♕(2+2.5+3 heaping)T/(25+40+30)g sugar
4 small sized (in America, they're called "medium") eggs, separated and at room temperature
0.5t/2mL lemon juice

For the whipped cream:
note: when I made this recipe it fit into a 2 gallon glass bowl.  I realize that this is a lot of cream.  Do not be alarmed.

2 quarts/2.3L heavy whipping cream
(3/4+3/4+3/4+3/4+3/4) cup/(150+150+150+150+150)g sugar (that's five times 3/4 cup/150g)
3T/15g cacao powder
2T/10g matcha powder
left over reduced strawberry juice
2T/30mL vanilla extract, high quality

For the rest of the trifle:

1 bag lady fingers or other dry cookies
note: I had to buy cookies because I seriously miscalculated the amount of lady fingers I would end up baking.  As an informed reader, you have options regarding which cookies you want to use with this recipe:
1) triple or even quadruple the recipe for the lady fingers, depending on how many people you are feeding, and use them as the only cookies in this trifle
2) purchase cookies at the store.  Looking back, if I could, I would buy thin disk-like cookies in strawberry, green tea, vanilla, and chocolate flavors for an excellent Neapolitan look.
3) you could buy all your cookies, but where's the fun in that?
4) just use less cookies in the recipe, instead opting to fill the dish with more mochi (especially if you can buy it in blocks, and cut it into long, 2cm wide rectangles!) and berries
1/2 cup/150g dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup/150g white chocolate chips
200-400g/0.5-1lb mochi, unstuffed and preferably without any flavoring, either in bites or in blocks

Procedure:

For the lady fingers:

Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and a piping bag (or four, if you don't want to rewash you bag while baking) with a narrow tip
Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C
Juice your berries, and place them into a small saucepan with the 2T sugar.  Stir, and reduce over low heat for approximately 20 minutes.  Your goal is to get a syrup.
Get four bowls.  Into two of them, sift 20g white flour.  Into one of them, sift 16g flour, and sift 18g flour into the last one.  Keep track of which bowl is which!
Take your separated egg yolks and beat them with the 30g sugar for approximately five minutes, until glossy and pale.
Beat the egg whites, lemon juice, and 40g sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Into your cocoa powder bowl, pour one fourth of the egg yolks and top with one fourth of the egg whites.  Fold the mixture together until just combined, pour into the piping bag, and pipe lady finger-length strips.  Leave about 1cm between each cookie, they do not spread much.
note: you could be like me, and pipe thin, 4cm long cookies, or you could be bold, piping them long and thick
Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning the tray halfway through the baking process if you have the slightest suspicion that your oven doesn't bake evenly.

While the chocolate lady fingers bake, combine the egg yolks with your 20g flour and egg whites.
Add in the vanilla extract and fold the ingredients together.
Pipe onto your other baking sheet, and as soon as your chocolate cookies are done, bake for 8-10 minutes.
Place the chocolate cookies under a cotton cloth, off of their baking tray but still on their parchment paper.

Combine the egg yolks, other 20g flour, and egg whites.
Add 2tsp or so of your reduced strawberry syrup, and food coloring, if you so wish
note: I did.
Fold together, pipe, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Combine final egg yolks, final flour bowl, and egg whites.
Fold together, pipe, bake for 8-10 minutes.

If you bake the cookies the day you will assemble the trifle, your cookies will be soft, but they will still absorb much of the whipped cream.  You could also bake them in advance and let them go stale for a crunchy cookie.

For the whipped cream:

Divide the 2 quarts of whipping cream into rough fifths.
As you whip each fifth, add 150g sugar.
To one fifth, add the cacao powder
To one fifth, add the vanilla extract.
To one fifth, add the matcha powder
To one fifth, add the remaining strawberry syrup
To one fifth, add nothing more.
From each whipped batch, save for the one with no flavor additions, reserve about 1 coffee mugworth of cream and refrigerate.

Assembly:

Melt the chocolate chips
If you purchased mochi blocks instead of mochi bites, slice them in an appealing manner.
Layer lady fingers, cookies, mochi and sliced strawberries loosely in a tall dish.  Drip melted chocolate on top.
Cover with plain whipped cream (except for the reserved coffee mugworth)
Make a total of five layers of cookies, being certain to line the walls of your dish with cookies, strawberries, and mochi.  Top each layer with a different flavor of whipped cream.
note: something I thought of only after assembling the trifle was that melted chocolate could be used as a cement to keep the lady fingers and other components sticking to the wall of your trifle dish, as well as their base.
After you have made five layers, your dish should be almost full.  Take out your four mugwoths of flavored whipped cream and plop them down in four mounds.
Top with melted chocolate, mochi, cookies, strawberries, and whatever else you wish.
Serve immediately if you like crunchy trifle, or let it sit in the cold for about two hours to let the cream get into the cookies.

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