Ashamedly, the only homemade trifles I grew up with were made from the Bird’s strawberry trifle mix. The box contained a packet of jelly (jello) granules, custard powder, sponge fingers, instant “cream” and sprinkles. Believe it or not, it was a treat! The other trifles I enjoyed were from the locally run, East Midlands confectioner’s, known ironically as Bird’s. I miss that place – they sell the best cream cakes ever! We’re talking meringues, cream slices, apple puffs, cream buns, elephant feet, éclairs and more… ok, now I’m drooling.
As I grew up, my tastes (and budget) allowed me to spend more on my food. I started to buy the “luxury” fresh trifles at the supermarkets (grocery store). That is no longer possible, as I now live in Seattle. I’m pretty sure places don’t even sell trifles around here, and if they did, I’d be allergic to the dairy.
I’ve been dreaming up this creation for a little while now. It’s been slowly simmering for a while, and it finally got put together during the holidays. It’s dairy-free fruit trifles! A raspberry and blueberry compote is topped with a layer of sponge cake, crème pâtissière and whipped “cream”. They take a little effort to make, but they are really worth it. They are rich, incredibly delicious, and perfect to enjoy whilst bashing monsters on the xbox for any special occasion.
A little side note: You will not use all of the vegan whipped cream. Use any leftovers on whatever you choose… I chose to use it on waffles with blueberries. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
DAIRY-FREE FRUIT TRIFLES
Makes 2 trifles
For the fruit compote
- 250 g (2 ½ c) frozen berries
- 1-2 T brown sugar
- 1 ½ t tapioca starch* dissolved in 2 t water
For the sponge cake
- 25 g (2 ⅔ T) self-raising** flour
- 1 egg, separated
- 30 g (4 T) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
- ½ t vanilla extract
For the crème pâtissière
- 50 g (¼ c) sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 T tapioca starch*
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 250 ml (1 c and 2 t) soy milk^
- 25 g (1 ⅔ T) creamed coconut block^^
For the vegan whipped cream
- 80 ml (⅓ c) soy milk^
- 2 t powdered agar agar
- 1 T and 2 t tapioca starch*
- 2 T agave nectar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 x 165 (5.6 fl oz) tins coconut milk
* You can substitute in corn flour (corn starch) if you prefer
** Self-raising flour can be made by combining 150 g (1 c) plain (all-purpose) flour with 1 t baking powder.
^ Substitute in any milk alternative you prefer
^^ Creamed coconut is a solid. It is sold in blocks and can be found in unrefrigerated grocery aisles. If this is difficult to find in the USA, use coconut butter.
1. Compote: Place the frozen berries and sugar into a small saucepan. Heat gently for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened and juicy. Pour in the starch slurry and stir constantly until thickened. Pour into two individual trifle glasses and let cool.
2. Sponge: Beat together the egg yolk and sugar until thick and pale. Stir in vanilla extract and stir, then set aside. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the yolk mixture gradually until well incorporated. Pour into two parchment lined 10 cm (4 inch) round tins. Steam for 5-7 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Let cool.
3. Crème pâtissière: Mix together the sugar, egg yolks, starch, vanilla extract and soy milk in a saucepan. Place onto medium heat and gently cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add the creamed coconut, stir until melted and fully incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, and place a piece of cling film (plastic wrap) directly on the surface of the crème pâtissière. Let cool.
4. Whipped cream: Place soy milk, agar agar, starch, agave, salt and coconut milk into a small saucepan. Heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Blend with a hand (immersion) blender until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then chill until cold and solid. Transfer the mixture into a stand mixer bowl with the beater attachment, or beat in the pan with an electric hand beater until smoothly whipped to soft peaks.
5. Assembly: Remove one sponge cake from tin (pan). Using a serrated knife, slice horizontally to get a 1 cm (3/8 inch) thick round slice~. Place on top of the fruit. Repeat with the other sponge cake. You can eat or discard the remaining cake.
6. Remove the cling film (plastic wrap) from the crème pâtissière, and beat lightly with a fork until smooth. Divide over the cake layer. Smooth out with a wet spoon.
7. Pipe or spoon the whipped “cream” on top and chill until ready to serve. You can also top the cream with chocolate or sugar sprinkles, if desired.
~ At this stage, you can brush the sponge cake with sherry or other alcohol, if you wish.