Katerina Posted April 19, 2005 10:31 AM
Strawberry-Mascarpone Trifle

A traditional English dessert, trifle features sponge cake or ladyfingers layered with fresh fruit, spirits and whipped cream. Here we enrich the whipped cream with mascarpone, a buttery cows milk cheese from Italy.

3 quarts strawberries, hulled and cut lengthwise
into 1/4-inch-thick slices; reserve 6 to 10
whole strawberries for garnish
6 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sifted cake flour
2 oz. rum

In a bowl, combine the sliced strawberries and 2 Tbs. of the sugar and toss to mix. In another bowl, combine the cream and 4 Tbs. of the sugar. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat until stiff peaks form, then beat in the mascarpone cheese and vanilla until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat an oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

In a heatproof bowl set over but not touching gently simmering water in a saucepan, whisk together the eggs, yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until light and ribbony, 4 to 5 minutes. Sift the flour into the egg mixture in three additions, folding with a rubber spatula after each addition until smooth.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread the batter to the edges, making the sides higher than the center. Bake until the top of the cake is golden and springs back when touched, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool to room temperature.

Using a small paring knife, cut around the inside edge of the pan to loosen and remove the cake. Using a serrated knife, trim the sides, shaping the cake into a 7-inch round to fit a large trifle bowl. Slice the cake in half horizontally.

Fit a pastry bag with a wide decorative tip and fill the bag with the mascarpone cream. Brush each layer of the cake with 1 oz. of the rum. Assemble the trifle, alternating layers of sliced strawberries, mascarpone cream and cake. Garnish with the mascarpone cream and whole strawberries. Serves 8 to 10.