Tropical Rum Trifle

Jun 5, 2012

Traditionalists might scoff at this version of trifle, adapted from Southern Living (April 2003), but this was one of my family's favorites. Irish-born chef Cathal Armstrong doesn't have a problem with his childhood dessert getting an exotic makeover, saying this combination is now one of his favorite ways to make it at home. "Usually I do tropical fruits, things not necessarily available when we were kids," he says. "I like pineapple, mango. Strawberry is always going to be high on the list." Note that custard must be chilled for 1 hour before assembling trifle.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Coconut Cream Custard (recipe below)

2 mangoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 1/4 cups fresh pineapple chunks

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup coconut-flavored rum, such as Malibu

1 store-bought angel food cake, sliced about 1/2-inch thick

2 bananas, sliced about 1/4-inch thick

1 1/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

2/3 cup chopped unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnishes: mango, star fruit, toasted coconut, toasted macadamia nuts

Make the custard (recipe below).

Stir together mangoes, pineapple, pineapple juice and rum in a bowl. Cover and chill 20 minutes.

Remove fruit from bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving juice.

Brush cake slices with juice mixture. Arrange cake slices in the bottom of a 4-quart bowl or trifle bowl. Top with half each of mango mixture, banana slices, custard, coconut and macadamia nuts. Repeat layers.

Beat whipping cream until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until blended. Spread evenly over top of trifle. Cover and chill 1 1/2 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Coconut Cream Custard

Makes 4 cups

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 cups milk

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (low-fat works fine)

6 large egg yolks

Bring all ingredients to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Place pan in ice water, whisking occasionally until cool. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

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