I got the idea for this Orange Blackberry Trifle from Nigella Lawson’s book Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home. In true Nigella style, instead of sticking firmly to the recipe, I modified it to use what I had, something she strongly encourages in her cookbooks. I also lightened it up a bit, giving it a mini-makeover.
I felt like this easy trifle was a great recipe to represent Nigella Lawson – #44 on Gourmet’s List of 50 Women Game Changers in Food and her cooking style.
I began participating with a group of food bloggers, led by Mary A Perfect Bite, who are cooking their way through the list, kind of late in the Game – with #41 Elizabeth Andoh. Now four weeks into it and we’ve finally hit upon someone I am familiar with and whose cookbooks and recipes I adore.
Nigella Lawson is a popular English food writer, journalist and television personality, who began her career as a book reviewer and restaurant critic. She rose to Deputy Literary Editor of the Sunday Times in 1986, before embarking on a freelance writing career.
Her first Book, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food, was released in 1998 and became a bestseller. In 2000 she won the British Book Award for Author of the Year, for her second cookbook, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.
With her charming casual style, simple and delicious recipes, bestselling cookbooks, and popular cooking shows, Lawson has become a household name — representing everything that is sumptuous, comforting and pleasurable about food.
Her cooking philosophy totally resonates with me. Nigella is someone who cooks because she loves food and she loves cooking. She exudes pleasure, a quality often overlooked in our hustle-bustle world, and readily admits that she feels most at home in her kitchen.
Nigella’s writing style is very chatty, so when you read her books it’s like having a friend in the kitchen with you. She’s not a trained chef, but a home cook, encouraging other home cooks. Her recipes are all about experiencing the joy of cooking for comfort rather than trying to impress with perfection.
Clearly a woman after my own heart, according to this August 19, 2011 blog post, her cookbook collection at the time numbered 3,886. (Which makes me feel a little better about my own cookbook addiction.)
Nigella originally concocted her orange blackberry trifle to use up her leftover marmalade pudding cake, a recipe that is on my list to try. I instantly thought it would be a great way to use up what remained of my light yogurt pound cake.
Her version calls for a pint of heavy whipping cream. I opted to use less cream and use a light homemade vanilla pudding to supplement it, an ingredient that is often used in trifles. The combination of orange marmalade, orange liqueur, fresh orange juice and zest was delightful paired with the blackberries, pound cake, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.
This delicious dessert, with a reasonable 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus, is just the kind of thing my husband adores and was quick to disappear!
- 3 to 4 slices reduced fat pound cake (to make 3 cups of 1-inch cubes)
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- ¼ cup Contreau or Grand Marnier
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 recipe vanilla pudding
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
- 2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fat free evaporated milk
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the pudding first since it needs a chance to cool before being added to the trifle.
- In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt with ½ cup of evaporated milk.
- Put the remaining ½ cup evaporated milk and 1 cup 2% milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan set over medium low heat. Heat until it begins to steam and then slowly whisk in the cornstach mixture, stirring constantly.
- Cook over medium low heat until the pudding thickens and just starts to boil, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to very low and continue to cook, stirring often, another 5 minutes or so.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Cover and chill before using it in the trifle.
- Spread the slices of pound cake with orange marmalade and then cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place the cut cake cubes in a shallow bowl and Drizzle them with the orange liqueur and orange juice. Toss them a bit to get some of the liquor and juice on each piece. Toss in 1 cup of the blackberries.
- Cover the cake and berries evenly with the cooled pudding and then spoon over the whipped cream.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, scatter the remaing blackberries and orange zest over the top.
The following bloggers are also featuring the cooking of Nigella Lawson today, with lots of wonderful recipes I need to bookmark:
Mary – One Perfect Bite, Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades, Sue – The View from Great Island, Barbara – Movable Feasts, Linda – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Jill – Saucy Cooks, Sarah – Everything In the Kitchen Sink
As I was surfing around the internet tonight I ran across an article/interview with Nigella Lawson discussing this very recipe on the Weight Watchers.com. Here are the highlights:
Casual, indulgent, festive… All describe trifle, a gorgeous and endlessly adaptable dessert worth consideration for your holiday menu this year. In her book Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, Nigella Lawson, the British bestselling cookbook author and Food Network star, includes a rich and luscious recipe for Orange and Blackberry Trifle. Here’s what she had to say when weightwatchers.com caught up with her recently…
WW: As desserts go, trifle makes a grand impression – yet the preparation seems so easy, what’s the secret?
NL: Well, this version of trifle is very much simpler than a traditional one, so I suppose you could say that the secret lay in leaving out the egg custard layer. But I also think that this trifle looks so beautiful because I choose to display it on a cake stand instead of layering it up in a dish: this way the natural beauty of the ingredients — golden sponge, billowing cream and gleaming berries – are spectacularly evident.
What would you say are the bare essentials needed to be able to justify calling something a trifle?
Traditionally, a trifle would be expected to have a sponge layer, possibly spread with jelly or preserves and always sodden with alcohol of some sort, usually sherry, then fruit, then cooked and cooled egg custard, and then whipped cream and a scattering of nuts or candied fruits. I think it is possible to pare down: layering is still essential but three layers will do: sponge or pound cake is a must, and it needs a sprinkling of liqueur or juice; cream or custard; and fruit. This is the essence of trifle!
Besides blackberries, which other berries (or other fruits) work well? What are some of the less obvious (to Americans) flavor combinations that really sing?
Pears and chocolate work very well together as ingredients, but for me the fruit in a trifle should have an element of sharpness; raspberries or mixed summer berries (which have been frozen) with a little white chocolate or cinnamon, for example. Similarly, tropical fruits with a squeeze of lime and some coconut rum or caramel are great.
What’s your favorite flavor combination in a trifle?
Actually, the key combination is damp cake intermingled with fruit and cream. Flavor can profitably be introduced through the liqueur that is used to dampen the cake, but it doesn’t need to be fancy to work. That’s the beauty of it.
Being such an adaptable dessert, we wonder if, when one wants to scale back on rich ingredients, you have suggestions for a lightened-up trifle?
To be honest, to me a bowl of berries spritzed with some orange juice and a little grated zest scattered on top is the perfect light dessert, so I am not sure it makes sense to start trying to make a trifle less rich, but I guess you could use a light angel cake base and use a quarter of the cream and heap up with extra berries.
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