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Summer Berry Trifle

I missed the memo that we were all supposed to make Ina Garten's flag cake for 4th of July this year. I went rogue and made a trifle, though funnily enough, I did use her flag cake recipe for part of it. A note about the cake: I reduced her recipe by a 1/3 and it still made way more than I needed, so I have reduced the amount made here to 1/2. You'll probably still have leftovers. (oh no, that would be terrible)

When I was in the Riviera this spring I visited Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and had lunch at their restaurant. All through the meal, the waiters were bringing ice cream sundaes to other diners and they looked so scrumptious that my sister and I decided we had to order one. It came out with these little white drops on top that looked like white chocolate chips at first glance but turned out to be meringues! They added the slightest, delightful crunch to an otherwise mostly soft dessert and I loved the concept. I've added some to my trifle as a garnish. 

All of the elements can be prepped the day before (or even further in advance), making this a great showstopper than can be assembled quickly before serving. 

Summer Berry Trifle

Serves 8-12 (In case you want a big serving)

Pastry Cream Base (adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris)

- 5 egg yolks

- 3/4 cup sugar

- 3 tablespoons cornstarch

- 1 1/2 cups milk

- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste

- 1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Heat the milk and vanilla on the stove in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and the milk is scaled (hot). 

Remove from the heat and use a ladle or measuring spoon to scoop some of the milk from the pan. Pour very slowly into the egg yolks, stirring constantly to temper the eggs and prevent curdling. Once 1/2 cup of the hot milk has been incorporated into the eggs, pour the tempered egg mixture into the pan and stir to combine. 

Combine the sugar and cornstarch and add to the pan. Heat the mixture again over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and heavy cream.  Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the cream to prevent a skin forming. Chill until ready to use, up to 3 days. 

Sour Cream Sheet Cake (adapted from Ina's Barefoot at Home)

- 9 tablespoons butter, room temperature 

- 1 1/2 cups sugar

- 3 large eggs

- 1/2 cup sour cream

- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

- 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch metal pan. 

Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on high speed with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the sugar and mix more, until light and airy. 

On medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well in between. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the sour cream and vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cornstarch, then add the salt and baking soda. Whisk together. 

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined. 

Pour into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool. Slice the cooled cake into 1 inch cubes. Store at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 3 days. 


- 1 egg white

- 1/4 cup sugar

- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

Whip the egg white, sugar, and cream of tartar on high in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. 

Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip with the meringue and pipe into mini 'kisses' on a parchment lined baking sheet. 

Turn off the oven and place the sheet of meringues inside. They will bake and dry out slowly as the oven cools. After about 2 hours, check to see if the meringues are still soft. If the oven is cool, you can turn it to about 200ºF and bake them until they are fully dry, adding 1/2 an hour as needed in increments. They should be crunchy and not soft at all.

You should have enough meringue 'kisses' to sprinkle some in each layer, as well as for topping. 


You'll also need:

- 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

- 1 dry pint of blueberries

- 1 pint of raspberries

- 3 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled

- Lemon curd, optional

You can also use blackberries, black raspberries (iykyk), and/or cherries



Spoon 1/3 of the pastry cream into the bottom of a trifle bowl. Sprinkle generously with cake cubes and meringues. If you're adding lemon curd, drizzle some in now. Add 1/4 of each fruit to the layer, then top with some of the whipped cream.

On the next layer, line the bowl with sliced strawberries for a decorative effect. For neater assembly, pipe the whipped cream layer in with a piping bag. 

Repeat 3 times until the pastry cream is gone. You'll probably have leftover cake, but you'll want to reserve enough whipped cream and berries for topping. 

Top the trifle with the remaining whipped cream and fruit. You can garnish with whole or halved strawberries instead of sliced ones. You can add some dots of lemon curd on top. I recommend reserving the remaining meringues until immediately before serving as they will soften. 

The trifle can be chilled for several hours until serving. 

Bon appétit! 


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