By Felicia C. Sullivan
Light on effort and heavy on flavor, trifle is the sort of dessert that looks deceptively decadent, but is actually a cinch to make. If you’re seeking the epitome of show-stopping desserts, look no further than the Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Trifle. A cloud of sweet chocolate mousse and slices of buttery pound cake, juxtaposed with the bitter chestnuts, make for an enticing play on festive flavor. Not only do you get to savor varying textures and tastes, but also the overall flavor is a luscious reminder of the beloved tiramisu.
Over the years I’ve made my fair share of desserts, but this is a dish worth photographing. Consider this delicious dish in place of the ubiquitous pumpkin and apple pies.
This recipe comes courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, however, I’ve made several tweaks to the original formulation.
Ingredients & Materials
4 ounces milk chocolate (40 percent cacao) broken into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces dark chocolate (60 percent cacao) broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can chestnut puree
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 large orange, zested, about 3 tablespoons plus more for garnish
1 (1 pound) frozen plain pound cake thawed, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices
3/4 cup orange liqueur (Triple Sec or Grand Marnier), orange-flavored syrup (such as Torani), or orange simple syrup recipe follows
4-quart trifle bowl or a 4-quart glass bowl
1/2 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
Orange Simple Syrup:
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
For the trifle: Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Put the bowl over a barely simmering saucepan of water and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, using a fork, gently mash the chestnut puree into 1/2-inch chunks.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream until thick. With the machine running, gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks. Add half of the whipped cream to the chestnut puree and, using a spatula, fold it in until incorporated. Set aside.
Stir the orange zest and 1/3 of the remaining whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Set aside.
To assemble the trifle: In the bottom of a 4-quart trifle bowl, arrange a single layer of pound cake slices, trimming the cake slices, if necessary, to fit. Drizzle the pound cake with about 1/4 cup of the orange liqueur or orange syrup. Spread 1/2 of the chestnut cream on top. Arrange another layer of pound cake slices on top and drizzle with 1/4 cup orange liqueur. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate cream on top. Repeat the layers using the remaining cream and liqueur, finishing with a chocolate cream layer.
For the garnish: Sprinkle with bittersweet chips and orange zest. Cover the trifle with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Allow the trifle to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.
About the Author:
Felicia C. Sullivan is the author of the memoir, The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here. A writer, social media professional and a blogger, she lives and works in New York City. Visit her on www.feliciasullivan.com.