Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Trifle with a Valentine’s Day Table Setting

Do you know how it feels when you meet someone new who you just click with?  Someone who likes the same things you like, and shares your interests.  Someone you can talk with, laugh with, have fun with, and who inspires you.  I love connecting with people in this way whether it’s only for an afternoon, or turns into a friendship that lasts a lifetime.  Well I found a blog that make me feel as good as finding a new friend (okay not quite as good as finding a new friend, but almost as exciting). 

I don’t even remember how I stumbled on Between Naps on the Porch, but once I was there, I couldn’t pull myself away.  I probably single-handedly helped the page viewing average the day I found this wonderful blog.  Susan from Between Naps on the Porch lives across the country from me, but we still seem to shop at the same stores (Home Goods, Marshalls and I really need to get to Big Lots!) and we both love dishes and table settings.  I think we would have even more in common, and I’d love to hang out with her.  Though Susan and I don’t live near each other, I can still join her party.  She has a Tablescape Thursday party all about table decorations, and I couldn’t wait to join in!
Table settings ran through my head, and I scoured Home Goods and Marshalls to find the “perfect’ dishes.  I was wandering around Home Goods with cute heart plates in my cart, trying to figure out where I would store these specialty dishes, when I came to the conclusion that I can’t afford, in terms of both money and storage, to buy dishes I was only going to use once a year.  I told Les, who was with me at Home Goods, I was going to put the dishes back.  I had to laugh when he asked me if I was just taking the heart dishes out for a ride.  Yeah, I hope they enjoyed their ride around the store since they weren’t coming home with us!
For my Valentine’s table, I settled on these blue gingham and flower dishes, and the red chargers from Marshalls, partly because I knew I could use them again (I can just see them with yellow for summer!).

To add some actual Valentine's decorations, I printed up these sweet Victorian valentines from to put on top of the lace and linen napkins.

 I gathered up some of my late mother-in-law’s crystal, and used her pretty silver. 
This hand-painted salt-cellar (?) was my mother-in-law’s and I thought it fit in nicely with my Valentine’s theme.

And since this is a food blog, I wanted to give you a great dessert to serve for Valentine’s Day or any day.  I’ve made this trifle at least 3 other times, and I always get rave reviews.  This is the first time I’ve done mini trifles (the recipe worked out this time to 12 mini trifles and 6 small individual bowls).  In the past I’ve served the trifle both in individual bowls and in a large trifle bowl.  This trifle presents beautifully, but deep down it is the ultimate comfort food.

Chocolate Cherry Trifle
Adapted from Nigella Lawson from Food Network
Printable Recipe
1 chocolate Bundt cake (or 2 12oz. each chocolate pound cakes)
½ cup black cherry jam (I’ve also used raspberry)
½ cup cherry brandy
2 cups canned sour cherries, drained (i.e. Morello)

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, 60% cocoa, chopped
1 1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon whole milk
1 1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon heavy cream
8 egg yolks
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Bittersweet chocolate for garnish, shaved

To make the mini trifles.   Line two mini cheesecake pans with strips parchment that stick up an inch over the edge (about 3 X 6 inch strips).  Slice the cake in ¾ inch slices.  Using a 1 or 1 ½ inch round cookie cutter (or one that fits your mini cheesecake pan), cut circles out of the cake slices.  Sprinkle the cherry brandy over the top of the cake rounds. Spread the jam on the cake rounds, and place them jam side up into the lined cake pans.  Top the cakes with the drained cherries. Set aside while you make the custard.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium heat, stirring every 30 seconds.  Or you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove.  Set aside the melted chocolate.

Heat the milk and cream in a large saucepan.  Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cocoa in a large bowl.  Pour the heated milk and cream into the bowl, and whisk it into the yolk and sugar mixture.  Stir in the melted chocolate.  Rinse out the large saucepan you used to heat the milk and cream, and add the custard back into the saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the custard thickens, stirring constantly.  Make sure the custard doesn’t boil.  The custard will thicken as it cools, and the chocolate flecks in the custard will disappear.  Pour into a bowl to cool.  Once the custard has cooled, spoon or pipe onto the chocolate cake pieces in the mini cheesecake pan. (I usually just pour the custard over the cake, but as you can see in the picture I didn’t get the straight lines I wanted, so if you want straight lines in your mini trifles, cool the custard first.)  Refrigerate overnight.

When you are ready to serve, softly whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar.  Top the mini trifles with the whipped cream, and garnish with the shaved chocolate.  Makes about 24 mini trifles.

To make trifle in a bowl, slice the cake and press it into one large trifle bowl or 8 to 10 individual trifle bowls.  Sprinkle the cake with cherry brandy and brush on the cherry jam.  Follow the directions for the custard and refrigerate overnight.


  1. All so pretty...I like that recipe too! I'm really getting into the spirit of Valentine's down here in South Africa with all the inspiration from the American ladies!
    Your stemware and cake stand is to "die" for.
    PS: I'm your newest follower!
    Blessings from Soth Africa

  2. Hi Shel, Welcome! I'm so glad you liked my table and recipe. Thank you for visiting and becoming a follower! Janice

  3. Welcome to TTH! Your table is lovely! I esp like the salad plates. I do settings and food on my blog too. I hope you will come visit when you have time! I am your newest follower.
    Looking forward to seeing your future tables. I am sure you have a lot of things right now you can use in settings!
    I see you are in the SF area. I just bought plates, Apilco, at the WSonoma Outlet with scenes of San Francisco on them. I wish they were of NY, my state, but I bought them and hope to use them in a scape soon. I have to research some good recipes to use with them!

  4. This is a very pretty table scape and thank you for the recipe! I would like to invite you to link this up to my new link party, Masterpiece Monday, at Boogieboard Cottage. The link will be up all week. Take care, Mary :O)

  5. Lovely! I found you through Tablescape Thursday. I'm your newest follower.

  6. Wow these trifles sound amazing :) I can't wait to try them, chocolate and cherries are my favorite dessert combo!

  7. What a beautiful table and those little bowls of trifle just complete the look. I wish I was there to get my share of it. I have a linky party every week on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

  8. Kathleen, I can't wait to see the SF plates in a table setting. I have had a bunch of dishes passed down to me, and I love every set, so I'm excited to find other women with my love of dishes and table settings!

    Mary, I will be sure to check out Masterpiece Monday. How fun! Thanks for visiting.

    DaniD, I love chocolate and cherry together, but I must admit, chocolate and orange are my favorite combination. You will have to let me know if you try the trifle.

    Lisa, "Sweets for a Saturday" sounds great. I will be by to check it out. Thanks for visiting!


    Moogie, I will be sure to check out your blog. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  9. the first pic is yummm :P your crystal crockery collection is great too :)

  10. Your tablescape is beautiful and perfect for Valentine's day! Thanks for stopping by my tablescape...Regarding the burlap votives on my table, I just hot glued some burlap onto some plain votives I found at HomeGoods. They've been on my table ever since!

  11. Oh, your tabelscape looks so pretty! I love the little salt cellars! And the trifle looks amazing! YUM

  12. Hi Pam, Thanks! Your burlap votives are really cute. Thank you for letting me know how you made them.

    Hi Diann, Thanks for visiting!

  13. Beautiful table, love the red plates with the gingham dessert plates...

  14. Choosing to introduce the blue as an anchor for your red and white dishes was a great idea! I think that your tablescape is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your charming design. Cherry Kay

  15. Marigene, Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Cherry Kay, Thanks. The blue reminded me of Victorian valentines so I decide to try it. I'm glad you liked it.




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