Berry Trifle with Lemon-Basil Curd

trifle*Happy Friday Everyone! I’m in a superb mood today because its my wife’s birthday. My friend Lauryn just got a little more fabulous, a little more fun and a little more gorgeous today. And not a day older.

I met Lauryn three years ago when we both showed up early to a brunch. There were supposed to be about twelve people there and somehow we ended up sitting alone at the table for about fifteen minutes. If you think thats an indictment on the timeliness of our other friends you are absolutely right (still love them though).

We kind of instantly clicked and ended up vintage shopping in Brooklyn the next weekend.  Since then, she has become one of my closest friends. I can always depend on her for a laugh, some style guidance, a judgement-free ear and a great potato salad.  The best part of our friendship is that she’s always up for a fancy dinner, an esoteric indie film or a broadway show. We joke that regardless of whatever awesome men we have in our lives we’ll always need each other as wives — to go to the restaurant they won’t go to or see the play they don’t care about.

trifle 2A couple of weeks after we met she asked me if I knew how to make trifle because she really loved it but never wanted to make it for herself. That weekend I showed up at her door with about 5 pounds of trifle — I couldn’t find a small clear bowl so I bought a giant fishbowl and had to fill it up.  Today I showed up at her office with more appropriately sized trifle and a birthday candle.

Trifle is a British or Scottish (depending on who you ask) dessert that is basically layers of fruit, custard, cake, jelly and booze.  Everything we all love.  The best part about it is that you can really make it with any combination of things that you like — this one is made with raspberries and blackberries, a lemon-basil curd, fresh whipped cream and pound cake. I passed on the booze since I knew she’d be eating it at work and we don’t want any rumors starting.

Berry Trifle with Lemon-Basil Curd
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The recipe requires that the trifle cool for 2 hours before serving.
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups of pound cake, cut into ½ inch cubes (I used store-bought)
  • 2 cups of mixed berries of your choice
  • 1 cup of cold heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar (also called confectioners sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of regular sugar
  • 4 lemons*
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), room temperature**
  • 10 basil leaves
  1. Zest the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the butter, regular sugar and the zest of 4 lemons for about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs one at a time until they are all incorporated. Beat in the juice of the lemons until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the lemon mixture into a saucepan or double boiler and cook over very low heat***, whisking or stirring constantly for about 7-10 minutes until it thickens up and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap (directly on the curd) and refrigerate until cool (about 2 hours). Stir in chopped basil.
  4. Whip the heavy cream (make sure it is cold) with the powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. To assemble: Put a layer of cake cubes in the bottom of a glass or transparent dish. Follow by a thin layer of the lemon curd, a layer of berries, another layer of cake, another layer of lemon curd, a layer of whipped cream and another layer of berries.
*I used Meyer lemons because they are available right now and they are a sweeter and juicer lemon. But any lemons will work for this. You can also make this curd with pretty much any citrus fruit.
** the butter should be spreadable. It takes about 2 hours sitting outside of your fridge to get there, so if you know you'll be making this tonight, leave the butter on the counter before you go to work.
***at this point you're basically cooking eggs and despite what the name "lemon curd" suggest, you don't want them to curdle. So to get a smooth, creamy curd you really need to make sure your heat is very low and you stir pretty constantly.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: