I’ll admit it: I’m a weather wimp. We’re working on a record run of 90 degree days. That would be bad enough, but like most folks in this part of the country, we don’t have air conditioning.

So what do you take to your church pot luck when you don’t want to turn on the oven?

It’s berry season, and I love berries. On a normal summer day, I might have gotten up early to make a berry crisp. But I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen at the beginning of another 90 degree day.

So I decided to make a berry trifle. I prepared it late last night, after the sun went down and while the neighbors’ fireworks were still going up.

I don’t have a trifle dish, so I used a 4-liter square Tupperware container. It wasn’t pretty, but oh was it good!

Berry trifle with lemon cream

Ingredients

1 frozen pound cake, thawed
2 quarts fresh berries (I used a quart of blueberries and a pint each of raspberries and blackberries, but you can use whatever you like)
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp sugar
1 10 or 11 ounce jar lemon curd (or use home-made lime curd)

Instructions

Cut the pound cake into bite-sized cubes.

Mix the berries, lemon juice, vanilla sugar, and corn starch in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and stir. Repeat as necessary until the berries are slightly warm and starting to give up their juice. Set aside to cool.

When the berries are cool, make the lemon cream:
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.

Scoop the lemon curd into a small bowl. Add a large spoonful of the whipped cream and blend gently. Fold the lemon curd mixture into the remaining whipped cream.

Spread 1/4 of the lemon cream on the bottom of a trifle bowl or other large serving dish. Top with 1/3 of the cake chunks. Cover the cake layer with 1/3 of the berries. Repeat, finishing with a cream layer. Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

If you like, you can garnish the trifle with fresh berries or sprigs of mint.

Read More

Strawberry Salad for Pentecost: On a hot day during strawberry season, combine basil, strawberries, and mozarella for a perfect summer salad.

Cookies and desserts for special diets and special occasions: Special days call for special treats. Here are some of my favorites, including recipes that work if you’re on a gluten-free, dairy-free, or anti-inflammatory diet.

Times and Seasons: Pondering the reasons that the church marks the beginning of the day at sunset, and the beginning of the year in September.

Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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