Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Trifle

We were assigned the task (I use this term loosely, it is more like a privilege) of preparing dessert for our family Christmas weekend.  Kristi saw Joy's post first and sent it to me with the message "Must make."  And I could not have agreed more.  Unfortunately, we had a small disaster with our rolling attempt and had to make a quick adjustment to our plan.  Trifles are an especially easy way of turning a cake failure into an elegant crowd pleaser.
Chocolate Peppermint Trifle (adapted from JTB)
Makes 12 small servings

Flourless Chocolate Sponge Cake
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Peppermint Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil, to taste

Chocolate pudding, 4 servings
Andes baking chips
Crushed candy cane
Chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 17x12 inch cookie sheet.
Place parchment paper on top and grease this too.  Set pan aside.
Beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until thick and lemon yellow, 5-7 minutes.
Melt chocolate over double boiler.
Let chocolate cool for a few minutes, then slowly add to egg yolk mixture.
Stir in vanilla.  Set aside.
In a clean, dry mixing bowl beat egg whites for a few minutes.
Add salt and cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Pour in 2 tablespoons sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
Fold 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate mixture.
Don't over stir.  Streaks of chocolate and whites are OK!
Fold the remaining 2/3 of whites into chocolate in 2 batches.
Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Don't mess with it too much, as it will deflate.
Bake for 15-17 minutes,  until cake springs back when touched.
Remove from oven and cool in pan on wire rack.

To prepare whipped cream, place cream, sugar, vanilla, and peppermint in stand mixer bowl.
Beat to thick consistency with peaks which hold their shape.
Store in refrigerator.

Prepare pudding.  A 4 serving size box will work well.

To assemble, spread a small layer of pudding in the bottom of a small, pretty glass bowl.
Cut cake into 2x2 inch squares (size is not terribly important) and layer on top of pudding.  Use half of cake per layer.
Top with half of remaining pudding followed by just less than half of whipped cream.
Sprinkle a layer of Andes chips over whipped cream.
Layer remaining cake, pudding, and whipped cream.
Store in refrigerator for up to one day.
Garnish with chocolate shavings and crushed peppermint just before serving.

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