After 5 months of perfecting (jokes) my baking skills at home, I finally had the opportunity to prepare a dessert for friends. Given this was my first time making a dessert for people who are not my loyal, family taste-testers, the pressure was on. After much deliberation I decided on a braai classic – a trifle. I am not such a fan of the classic jelly and custard combination and wanted to incorporate some chocolate. So I decided on a double chocolate berry trifle. The crowd was pleased – I went back home with an empty bowl that evening. If you want a make the night before dessert that is super easy and tastes delicious, I would highly recommend trying this out!
This trifle has four components: Lindt chocolate brownies, chocolate custard, berries and whipped mascarpone cream, which blend together in sinfully good harmony.
Dark chocolate Lindt brownies
I used a sourdough brownie recipe linked here. To achieve the best results use pure cacao instead of cocoa powder, Lindt 70% chocolate and drop salted caramel Lindor into the mix before they go into the oven.
You can use any dark chocolate brownie you like or buy store bought brownies. I recommend dark chocolate as this dessert is quite rich and dark chocolate helps to temper some of the sweetness.
- 500ml homemade or store bought fresh cream vanilla custard
- 25g Lindt 70%
- 25g Lindt 85% (or double up on the 70% instead of using 85% as well)
- 25g Lindt milk chocolate
Whipped mascarpone cream
- 100ml heavy cream
- 250g mascarpone cheese
I used these three berries based on availability, and their combination of sweet and tangy. However, feel free to experiment with other options such as gooseberries, blackberries and even cherries. Just make sure to get a good blend of sweet and slightly sour to temper the sweetness of the dessert.
The beauty of this dessert is that it can be prepared the night before, assembled on the morning of the event and stored in the fridge. Trifles taste best when prepared and left to chill at least 4hrs before serving. If you are preparing these for a weeknight I recommend making the brownies and custard the night before and assembling everything (except the cream layer) in the morning, and then leaving the trifle in the fridge during the day.
Dark chocolate Lindt brownies
To make the brownies – follow your recipe of choice or go out and buy yourself some dark chocolate brownies.
Bake brownies and transfer to baking rack until completely cooled. If you are baking and assembling on the same day, leave them on the baking rack. If you are baking them the night before (I did this to fit in with my work schedule), transfer to an airtight container.
Warm custard on low heat in a pot, stirring occasionally with a whisk. You want the custard to be warm but not boiling so keep an eye on the mixture. Roughly break chocolate up and drop into custard. Stir mixture with the whisk until chocolate is mostly melted. Remove from heat and keep stirring until chocolate is fully melted. Cover with a cling film to prevent the custard from forming a film and set aside.
This mixture needs time to chill and thicken so leave it in the fridge overnight or at least 2hrs before assembly.
Mascarpone cream (note: only prepare 2hrs before serving)
Whip cream and mascarpone cheese in a deep bowl using an electric mixer on high speed. Whip until mixture thickens and small peaks form. An easy gauge to tell if the cream is ready is to run a spoon through it – if it leaves a trough then it is ready.
Now for the fun part! I assembled the trifle on the morning of the braai but you can also assemble it the night before (provided the custard has time to thicken and chill in the fridge and the brownies are cooled).
Cut brownie mixture in half. Store half the brownies in an airtight container. Chop up the rest of the mix by first cutting into squares. Then pick up each individual square and slice through the middle so that they are halved in height.
Layer half of chopped brownies into the bottom of a tall glass serving bowl/trifle bowl. Remove custard from fridge and stir until smooth, if any lumps or a film has formed. Spoon chocolate custard over brownie layer, until the brownies are almost fully covered.
Wash berries and finely slice strawberries. Layer berries over custard until custard is covered.
Place remainder of chopped brownies over berry layer, spoon remainder of custard over brownies and then add another layer of just strawberries.
Cover and leave in fridge.
2hrs before serving: Spoon over whipped mascarpone cream and then top with remainder of berries. Garnish with fresh flowers to be fancayy.
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