A Strawberry-Cacao Nib Trifle To Go


Strawberry-Cacao Nib Trifle: Orange Chiffon Cake, Blackberry-Strawberry-Grand Marnier Puree, Whipped Cream, Cacao Nib Pudding, and Halved Camarosa Strawberries.

It wasn’t until I was nearly done constructing this trifle that I actually looked at the sides — and saw the rustic result. But I decided that since I’d be transporting it to a casual barbecue 1.5 hrs away and it would taste good in any case, I may as well leave it as is… and dare to post it on my blog.

The starting point for this dessert was to use up the scraps of orange chiffon cake that I had leftover in my freezer from the Blood Orange Creamsicle birthday cake. I went back into the Tartine cookbook for their ideas on how to construct a trifle, and found that they soak the cake layers in a lightly sugared and liqueured fruit puree. I didn’t want to add too many flavors, so I just blended a few blackberries into my pureed strawberries, as well as Grand Marnier. The resulting strained puree was juicy, but it didn’t soak into the cake readily. That’s fine b/c it allowed for more textures, but if you want a thoroughly soaked layer with an eye-catching purple hue, I’d add a little water (which would have been included if simple syrup had been used) and use thin layers of cake.

The recipe also called for pastry cream, but as I’ve said, I’m not terribly into eggy desserts, especially if fruit is involved. So, I was really excited to happen upon Alice Medrich’s recipe for Nibby Pudding in Bittersweet. Not only is it egg-free (relying solely on cornstarch to thicken the cacao-nib infused sweetened milk & cream), but it also added a complementary note of flavor. I’d considered using chocolate pastry cream to liven things up a bit (esp since it goes with strawberry and orange flavors), but it could easily be too heavy and overbearing. The nibby pudding gave an earthy but nimble flavor that accented the fruit and cream nicely, and it wasn’t too sweet. The light taupe color was also a nice slight contrast to the whipped cream, which I sugared lightly. The only trick is that since cacao nibs are broken up pieces of cacao beans, they unleash some cocoa butter (which is solid at room temp) into the cream and milk during the infusion. The cocoa butter gives the pudding a novel kind of unctuousness, but if the pudding sets more firmly than you’d like, you can whisk it to loosen it and/or fold in some whipped cream.

4 Responses to “A Strawberry-Cacao Nib Trifle To Go”

  1. jamie Says:

    it was DELICIOUS. i ate the last of it last nite and it was a sad experience. sad because i knew it was the last of it! i want more!! it was really soo good nina!

    the contrast in textures was heavenly. the aroma and colors didnt even do its justice to its taste.

    *cough* my birthday is on august 18. orange creamcicle cake needs a friend to join it in your “birthday cake” portfolio 😉

  2. Nina Says:

    hehe Thanks, Jamie! 🙂 Yeah, I definitely have to make that again… soon.

    And I’d be happy to make your birthday cake! There’s a slight chance that I’ll be away around that date, but if so, I’ll make it either before or after the trip. Just let me know what flavors you want, and any specific features, and I’ll do the rest!

  3. Garrett Says:

    wow… just wow… that looks good!

  4. Nina Says:

    Haha, thanks! I guess it does have an easygoing summery charm to it. 🙂

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