Monday, December 20, 2010

Trifling Matter

Any day I get to use my estate-sale champagne coupes is a good day. You'll remember, I had a Boston Cream Pie near-disaster a while ago.  Thankfully, I'm the kind of person who knows just what to do with cake crumbs!  These aren't really trifles, because they're missing the required fruit and/or jam layer.  They're actually a Southern dessert (my recipe is inspired by The Williamsburg Cookbook) called "Tipsy Parson" or "Tipsy Squire."  Naturally enough, Paul and I have christened this dessert "Squire Western."  ("Rouse yourself from this pastoral torpor, sir!" is one of our hands-down favorite quotations.)  Bonus: this is super-simple to make.

This amounts in this recipe are for an entire cake and entire recipe of custard and will serve 12-16 people and fill a trifle dish nicely.  Just halve the recipe if you are in the situation I was in!

Squire Western
Two 8"-round cake layers or one 8x8" cake (I used the One-Egg Cake recipe here.)*
1 recipe Custard Filling, completely cooled
1/2 cup cream sherry (I use Harvey's Bristol Cream because it's cheap and has a royal warrant.)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup slivered almonds

First, place the slivered almonds on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler until lightly browned (keep an eye on it.) Set aside.

Crumble the cake into the bottom of a trifle dish or into the bottom of individual dessert dishes.  Set aside.

Using a whisk, aggressively beat the custard filling while you pour in the obscene amount of sherry.  Pour this lusciousness over the crumbled cake, cover and place in the fridge.  You can do all of this several hours to a few days in advance.  Wait at least the several hours to let the sherry custard soak into the cake.

Just before serving, beat the heavy cream to not-quite-soft-peak territory.  It should be thickened but not too stiff.  Pour it on top of the sherry custard-soaked cake and, if you're using the trifle dish, spread it around evenly.  Top with the toasted almonds.  Enjoy!

*It's best if the cake is a little stale, so leave it wrapped and on the counter for a couple days or freeze for use later.  Stale cake will soak up the boozy custard better than fresh cake, which is very important.


Recommendation for a double feature:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich (1940)

Margaret Lockwood stars in both films.  In The Lady Vanishes, she witnesses the disappearance of a fellow train passenger and enlists Michael Redgrave in the search.  In Night Train to Munich, Lockwood escapes from a concentration camp with Paul Henreid, but needs the help of Rex Harrison to escape the Gestapo.  Keep an eye out for Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, who play Charters and Caldicott, a pair of cricket-obsessed Englishmen, in both films.

These films would be great for a family movie night over the holidays.  They're kid- and grandparent-appropriate and thoroughly enjoyable for everyone.  Both movies are available on DVD from the Criterion Collection and The Lady Vanishes is available on Netflix Watch Instantly and from The Internet Archive.


In case you missed yesterday's post, be sure to read about my brand-spanking-new contest!

Tipsy Squire on FoodistaTipsy Squire


  1. I don't think I've seen either movie...I'll put them on our list!

  2. Hey Lauren,

    Wow. This trifle looks amazing, especially in these glasses! My Grandma, a British woman, serves trifle at Christmas and it has never interested me, but yours definitely does! So you see, if you can impress me, you know you're set. I think the almonds and the colour are the main selling points. Well, the glasses are too. Good work! Nice blog and nice Twitter! I found you on Twitter, actually.


  3. This looks delicious.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this tipsy squire widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about tipsy squire,Thanks!


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