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Sorghum, Peach, & Blackberry Trifle

June 2018
To the eye, they resemble the English classic, but FIG executive pastry chef Caitlin McCormick Schumacher’s decadent trifles were reinvented to deliver a decidedly Southern dessert
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For the sorghum cake:

11/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sorghum
2 Tbs. local honey
4 oz. unsalted butter, cut into one-inch dice and refrigerated
11/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Amaretto sorghum cake syrup:

2 cups Amaretto (can substitute dark rum)
1 cup sorghum
1 cup water
1 cup brewed dark roast coffee

Combine all in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Transfer it to a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.

For the mascarpone mousse:

4 egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. Amaretto (can substitute dark rum)
1 lb. mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the blackberries:

11/2 lbs. blackberries (about 4 cups), divided
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine the blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice; toss; and set aside to macerate.

For the soft whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. powdered sugar

Combine the cream and powdered sugar in a bowl, whisk to soft peaks, and refrigerate.


For the sorghum cake:

Center a rack in the oven. Preheat to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray the bottom and sides with nonstick baking spray.

Prepare a double boiler by selecting a saucepan that will hold a large heatproof mixing bowl over simmering water. Fill it with enough water to simmer below the bowl, but not touch it. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.

Combine the baking soda and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Combine the eggs and sugar in the large mixing bowl and whisk together until combined. Add the sorghum and honey and whisk until combined. Stir in the butter.

Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook the mixture until the butter is melted and the mixture has reached 160°F, measured with an instant-read thermometer, about eight minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Whisk in the baking soda and salt until combined. The mixture will get foamy. Whisk occasionally until mixture cools to 125°F, about 10 minutes. (If you begin adding the flour while the mixture is too hot, the batter will have small clumps of flour in it.)

Using a sifter or fine mesh sieve, begin sifting the flour into the warm batter in 1/2-cup increments, whisking between each addition to fully incorporate it and scraping down the flour on the sides of the bowl. Work quickly; the batter should still be lukewarm at the end of mixing. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake the cake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. The cake will be molasses-colored and its center will spring back to the touch when done. Remove it from the oven and cool completely in the pan.

For the mascarpone mousse:

Combine the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the Amaretto and whip for another two minutes. Add the mascarpone all at once. Whip on medium-low speed until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks. Gently fold it into the mascarpone mixture and refrigerate.

To complete:

8 footed glass dishes (approx. 4 inches in diameter by 21/2 inches deep)
11/2 lbs. ripe peaches, halved and pitted

Using a round cutter 1/2 inch smaller than the dish, cut out eight rounds of sorghum cake. Slice each round in half horizontally. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip with the mascarpone mousse. Pipe about two tablespoons into the bottom of each dish. Place one cake round, cut-side up, on top, pressing gently to flatten. Using a pastry brush, coat the cakes with half of the Amaretto sorghum syrup.

Cut each peach half into six wedges. Arrange wedges around the edge of the dishes and put two wedges on top of the cake. Pipe mascarpone mousse inside the peach perimeter. Add three tablespoons of blackberries. Add a second cake round, cut-side up, pressing gently to meld the layers together. Brush on the remaining Amaretto syrup. Spoon soft whipped cream on top, cover, and refrigerate at least eight hours or overnight. The trifles will keep for two days in the refrigerator.

Additional notes: any extra cake can be toasted in a 275°F oven until dried out and then ground in a food processor. Schumacher likes to keep these crumbs in the freezer and sprinkle them on the bottom of fruit pies to absorb the moisture and prevent a soggy crust. This cake is designed to be soaked, so you may find it dry just to snack on.

CHEF’S NOTE: The mascarpone mousse alone is delicious spooned over any summer fruit.