Ginger, Peach, and Toasted Almond Trifle

Yesterday friends from my graduate department hosted a 4th of July potluck. Potlucks occur often for us, whether on the small scale or large, and no matter what size they are I always enjoy them. I am lucky enough to have friends that are not only good cooks but are also enthusiastic about food, whether it's simply eating, talking about or shopping for food. Needless to say, we had a really good meal that night.

For my addition to the party, I took the opportunity to make a recipe from a cookbook I got at the library called Everyday Food: Great Food Fast (from the Martha Stewart kitchens). For a little review of the book, (though I haven't cooked hardly anything from it), I can already say I love it because every recipe has a picture! I like knowing what I am getting myself into by making a recipe, and a picture says a lot more than words. I also like that the recipes are (supposedly) quick and easy. The book is also divided by seasons, and by cooking seasonally, you are cooking sustainably, which I also love. As for my recipe, though I varied it a lot, I chose the blackberry and ginger trifle. While blackberries are in season, they are a little pricey, so I blanched and sliced fresh peaches instead (I even found a way to blanch the peaches so as not to dirty a whole bunch of dishes!) I also added toasted almonds for crunch. Angel food cake replaced the pound cake, because it is lower in fat. I did, however, keep the real whipped cream, which, once it's aerated, adds fewer calories than you would think. Plus, I think fresh whipped cream is more natural than whipped topping, which has a weird chemical aftertaste in my opinion. I will warn you that I didn't put this in a pretty trifle dish because we were travelling---I used a plastic lidded container instead, so I hope you can see the layers of the trifle in the pictures...

My friends enjoyed my slightly butchered rendition of Martha's recipe---they enjoyed it in particular because they hoped the ginger would settle their stomachs after having eaten a lot!

Ginger, Peach, and Toasted Almond Trifle

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup organic sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 lb ripe peaches (about 4-6, preferably organic)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
16 oz store-bought angel food cake
2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1. To toast the almonds, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast them until they are light brown; remove them from a pan and set them aside.
2. To make the ginger syrup, combine the ginger, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Steep for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour (this can be made ahead. After steeping, remove the ginger pieces, put the syrup in a sealed container and refrigerate).
3. To prepare the peaches, cut an "x" shape in the bottom of each peach. Add them to a large bowl and pour boiling water (use a kettle or even the microwave to boil the water---very easy that way) over them---enough to cover. Allow them to steep for about 3 minutes or until the skin slips off with no resistance. Drain the hot water away and add enough cold water and ice cubes to cover the peaches. Once they are cool enough to handle, pull the skins off and cut each peach into 12 to 16 slices. Combine the peaches with half of the ginger syrup and the lemon juice.
4. In a chilled bowl, add the cream and whip to soft peaks. Gradually add a 1/4 cup of sugar while whipping.
5. Slice the cake into 1/2 -inch slices, and with a pastry brush, baste on the remaining syrup. Cut the slices into cubes. Place half the cubes in the bottom of the trifle dish. Add half of the peaches. Add half of the whipped cream, then sprinkle half of the almonds on top. Repeat each layer, finishing off the ingredients.

Servings per recipe: 12
Per serving:
Calories: 253
Fat: 9.8 g
Saturated fat: 4.8 g
Cholesterol: 27 mg
Sodium: 291 mg
Carbohydrates: 39.1 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Sugar: 15.9 g
Protein: 3.8 g

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