Culinary Curious

Stars and Stripes Berry Trifle Photo: Keller + Keller

Stars and Stripes Berry Trifle

Presented by America's Test Kitchen

Makes enough for a 3-quart trifle dish

Why this recipe works:

With creamy custard, tender cake, and fresh fruit, berry trifle recipes are the perfect summer dessert. And the best summer trifles make their appearance right around Independence Day, like our Stars and Stripes Berry Trifle recipe. Homemade whipped cream takes just minutes to make and tastes much better than store-bought varieties. We found that blueberries and raspberries lent the trifle a festive red, white, and blue color scheme, but any favorite summer berries would work just as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 store-bought pound cakes (16 ounces each), thawed and edges trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 6 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 4 cups vanilla custard, refrigerated until firm
  • 1 cup whipped cream (lightly sweetened)

Method

For the Stars

Slice each cake lengthwise into 6 equal pieces. Spread 2 teaspoons jam each on 6 cake slices and top with remaining slices to create jam sandwiches. Using 2-inch star cookie cutter, cut out 3 stars from each sandwich. Chop remaining sandwich scraps into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

For the berries

Toss blueberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, and water in bowl. In separate bowl, toss raspberries with remaining sugar. Let sit until sugar dissolves and berries are glossy, about 5 minutes.

To assemble

Arrange 7 star sandwiches upright around bottom of 3-quart trifle dish. Place 2 cups sandwich scraps in center of dish. Arrange 3 cups blueberries around stars, piling up blueberries so that they surround all edges of stars. Spread 2 cups custard in even layer on top of blueberry and cake layer. Place 1 cup sandwich scraps on center of custard layer. Arrange 3 cups raspberries around perimeter of dish. Spread remaining custard in even layer on top of raspberries. Arrange 9 star sandwiches upright around perimeter of dish. Arrange remaining blueberries around stars and pile remaining raspberries in center of dish. Spoon whipped cream on top of raspberries and top with remaining 2 stars.

Building a better Trifle

While our Stars and Stripes Berry Trifle looks like it's stuffed with mounds of fresh berries, the center is actually layers of the scraps from the jam sandwiches and loads of vanilla custard. Here's how we assemble the trifle.

  1. After arranging 7 stars around the outside of the trifle bowl, place 2 cups of jam sandwich scraps in a pile in the center of the dish and then arrange 3 cups of blueberries around the stars.
  2. For the raspberry layer, spread 2 cups of custard in the trifle dish, place 1 cup of jam sandwich scraps in the center of the custard layer, and then arrange 2 cups of raspberries around the perimeter.
  3. Spread the remaining custard in the dish and place 7 stars around the outside. Arrange remaining blueberries around the stars, leaving the center of the custard devoid of blueberries. Top with remaining raspberries.