Pineapple-Mango Trifle with White Chocolate-Macadamia Mousse

One of my dearest friends is moving away in the coming week, so when he hosted a barbeque I had to prepare something extra special. One of the most beautiful desserts, in my opinion, is a trifle, because it has all those colorful layers of ingredients. They're also great for feeding large crowds.

For this trifle, I wanted to use fruits that I have never used before, something tropical and summery. I chose pineapple, which is an inexpensive canned ingredient. Mangoes have been on sale for only 88 cents for weeks now, so I picked and big ripe one. The way I choose mangoes is I look for the skin to be mostly red and orange with minimal green coloring. I find mangoes that have green skin to be very tart, which can be good for some applications, but not for a dessert. The mango should be fragrant and yielding if you gently squeeze it. Sometimes, the stem end of a ripe mango may be leaking some juice out, so you might see a trail of sticky mango juice on the fruit. Avoid mangoes with dark brown dimpling, because that's a sign that it's over ripe.


Look at all those pretty layers!
To pair with the pineapple and mango, I decided to use angel food cake, which is light and airy and perfect for summer and really easy because I just used a store-bought cake. It's also a stereotypical diet dessert, which would offset the rich mousse I also decided to add to this trifle. Instead of using a custard and a whipped cream layer, I combined both principles and made the world's simplest mousse. This mousse recipe, which I found years ago on about.com, is fail- and drama-proof. I have used all different kinds of chocolate and it turns out great anytime. Because of the tropical, bright-fruits, I chose vanilla-rich white chocolate to balance their tartness. I also folded in some crunchy macadamia nuts for texture and to add even more of an exotic touch. As one of my friend's said, this dessert is really light (angel food cake and whipped cream are, after all, full of air), so it's perfect for summer.

The fruit sauce and the mousse could be prepared separately to make different desserts. Use the sauce for topping plain cakes and ice cream. Dish the mousse into bowls and garnish with fruit for a simple dessert.

Note: it's really important that the fruit sauce is cooled before layering the trifle because if it isn't it will cause your mousse to fall and become a soupy mess.


Pineapple-Mango Trifle with White Chocolate-Macadamia Mousse
Printable Recipe

For the Pineapple-Mango Sauce:

1 15-oz can pineapple tidbits, packed in juice
1 large, ripe mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

1. Drain the pineapple tidbits, adding the pineapple and half of the juice to a small saucepan. Add the mango and sugar to the saucepan as well.
2. Heat the fruit over medium heat until the juice gently boils. Meanwhile, blend the cornstarch with the remaining pineapple juice.
3. Add the cornstarch-juice mixture to the saucepan and stir. Cook the fruit until the sauce thickens, the sugar dissolves, and the mango becomes a little soft. Cool completely before assembling the trifle.

For the White Chocolate-Macadamia Mousse:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
5 oz good-quality white chocolate, either chopped or chips (plus a little more for garnish)
1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts

1. Heat 1/3 cup of the cream in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl for about 45 seconds, or until it is very warm but not boiling.
2. Add the chocolate to a small bowl and pour the hot cream over. Stir to melt the chocolate, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. While the chocolate cools, beat the remaining cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the cooled melted chocolate into the whipped cream. If the cream deflates a little bit, whip it for a few seconds more. Fold in the macadamia nuts.

To assemble the trifle:

1 15-oz angel food cake

1. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes. Arrange a single layer of cubes on the bottom of a trifle dish or clear bowl.
2. Pour 1/3 of the cooled fruit onto the cake, then 1/3 of the mousse. Add another layer of cake and repeat with the fruit and mousse. The trifle should have 3 layers by the time you are done.
3. Garnish with a few chocolate chips and allow to chill in the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

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