Strawberry Passion Fruit Trifle Jars

I often make desserts that require crème pâtissière (vanilla pastry cream), such as fruit tart.  I also like to use pastry cream as a filling in profiteroles.  It’s especially delicious when combined with whipped cream to make crème diplomat (diplomat cream)!

But because pastry cream can’t be frozen, any leftover needs to be consumed within a few days.  So that’s when I like to make fresh fruit parfaits. It’s a cinch, and even easier if I already have leftover whipped cream too.  I basically alternate layers of pastry cream, fruit and whipped cream in tall glasses or mason jars.  It’s really that simple! But simple in this case doesn’t mean boring.  Trust me, everyone will fall in love with these parfaits because they look so fancy and pretty, not to mention super delicious!  I once posted a picture of some berry parfaits on Instagram, and to this day, it’s still the most popular post!

I went a step further this time and turned my fruit parfaits into individual trifles, because I wanted to use up the leftover sponge ladyfingers that I’d frozen after making Mango Charlotte cake.  Don’t you just love it when you can create another dessert from your leftovers?!

These mini trifles are really just a boozy variation of my parfaits, with the addition of rum-soaked sponge fingers.  They’re equally eye-catching and just as yummy!  What a fantastic summertime dessert!

You can adapt this recipe however you wish.  You can substitute the rum with sherry, for a more traditional trifle, or any other alcohol.  Or, make it non-alcoholic.  I just use rum whenever I get a chance because I have 3 bottles of it and I’m not much of a rum drinker LOL!  You can, of course, use your choice of fruit or a mix of fruit.  For convenience, I would suggest you use leftover or even store-bought cake, since the cake isn’t really the star of the show here. You can even use stale cake since it’s going to absorb the simple syrup. Sponge cake, angel food cake, pound cake…any type of cake would work.



Simple Syrup:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons rum

Pastry cream:

500 ml milk
100 grams sugar
40 grams corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract)

Whipped Cream:

500 ml whipping cream
50 grams sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 slices of cake (sponge, angel food or pound cake), cubed
1 pound (454g) strawberries, hulled and quartered (leave a few aside to slice, for decoration)
2 passion fruit (cut open and spoon out the pulp)


Simple Syrup:

1) Add water and sugar to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, then mix in the rum.

2) Place quartered strawberries in a bowl, pour the simple syrup over, and toss to mix. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

3) Drain strawberries in a sieve over a bowl and set aside. Reserve the syrup.

Pastry Cream:

1) Pour about 3/4 of the milk into a pot, slit open the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pot (or add vanilla bean paste/extract).

2) In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch and sugar. Then add egg yolks and the remaining milk. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.

3) Heat milk over medium-high heat. When it simmers, pour half into the bowl of cornstarch/sugar/egg yolk/milk mixture, while whisking constantly. Whisk well, then pour the mixture back into the pot. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Continue whisking vigorously and the mixture will quickly start thickening. Once it thickens, continue whisking until the mixture bubbles.

4) Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof bowl. Using the whisk attachment of a hand or stand mixer, whisk on high speed until it cools to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is in contact with the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming. Set aside.

Whipped Cream:

[Place whisk attachment and large mixing bowl in the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes before using. Whipping cream should be kept in the refrigerator until ready to use].

1) Pour whipping cream into the mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for about a minute. Add vanilla extract and gradually add sugar, while continuing to beat. Then increase speed to medium high and beat until medium peaks form.

Assembling the trifle jars:

1) Place cake pieces on bottom of jar. Pour some syrup over the cake.

2) Place a layer of strawberries over the cake.

3) Add a layer of pastry cream.

4) Spoon some passion fruit pulp on top.

5) Add a layer of whipped cream.

6) Repeat Steps 1-5 again.

7) Follow the same procedure for the other jars.

8) Garnish with strawberries and passion fruit pulp.

9) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: Assemble the trifle jars preferably not more than 2 hours before serving.  Leftover trifle can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.  Keep in mind that the cake pieces will get more soggy, the longer it keeps.


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