I love that old beetles classic “Strawberry Fields Forever” and I for one would be blissfully happy to be surrounded by strawberry fields for all of my days. Different berries represent different things to me, they each have their own cognitive memory associated with their taste and texture but for me strawberries ARE summer, it may not be at all possible to taste the sun but I think the closest you will come is by eating a warm, just from the vine strawberry!
We try to put up as many fresh strawberries as we can, the season is regrettably short and winter berries from other locals can’t hold a candle to out fresh local berries. Freezer jam is a must in our home because it has so much more flavor than cooked jams and is so quick and easy to prepare. We also eat strawberries on toast almost every day during the season. I’m always surprised at how many people look puzzled when I tell them this but it’s really just a “deconstructed” version of jam. I just take the softest freshest white bread I can find, toast it, butter it, and cover it with a generous amount of sliced berries and white sugar. It’s heaven on a plate.
If you ask people to name their favorite dessert using strawberries I think the answer you’re most likely to hear is strawberry shortcake, and I have to admit that it ranks pretty high up there on my top ten list as well but last summer I attended a bbq where different people brought different desserts and there I discovered strawberry trifle. I was familiar with trifle, I knew it was an English dessert and that it originated as a way to use up stale bread but that was where my association with it ended. This trifle was the perfect combination of pound cake, fresh berries, strawberry preserves and fabulous creamy custard. My friend Sandra was generous enough to share her recipe with me and I’ve made it many times since, I’ve even adapted it to peaches and blueberries when strawberries were out of season and all were excellent but the strawberry version remains at the top of the list.
You need quite a large dish to make it in and if you have it I would recommend using a glass bowl as the layers are very appetizing to look at as well, after all we eat with our eyes first! It’s absolutely perfect for bbq’s and potlucks as it will easily stretch to feed a dozen or more people. I have made half the recipe when it was just going to be our own family but half just left me wanting more. It seems to keep quite well in the fridge, although it never lasts long, it didn’t get soggy or watery.
And because I feel that I should share as many tips with you as possible I’ll let you in on one of my secrets, if you jog in place while putting this trifle together you will eliminate virtually all the calories. Bon appetite!
Summer Strawberry Trifle
Serves 10 to 12
2 full boxes strawberries, sliced
1 500ml whipping cream
1.5 tsp. vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1.5 cups cold water
1 pkg vanilla pudding mix (6 serving size)
1 pound cake cubed
¼ cup strawberry jam
Whip cream with vanilla and refrigerate. Mix condensed milk with water and pudding mix on low speed until well combined. Refrigerate for twenty minutes then fold into whipping cream. Begin layering. Start with cream, then cake, half the preserves and half the berries, repeat ending with cream. Refrigerate for 4 hours then serve.