Welcome Fall, and the beautiful cool weather it has brought. Soon, the leaves will be bursting with colors of red, orange, yellow, and gold. Whether driving into the mountains, to be up front and personal, or looking up from down below, the colors are an eye feast. This is also the time for farmers to be plowing, and seeding, fields for winter wheat. In other words, it is time for second harvest, the picking, eating, jarring, freezing, or other types of processing the last of the fruits and vegetables.
Of course, if you do not have a home garden to break down, going to local or farmers’ markets might just get a good supply. Be aware that many of the produce could be on its last leg, and needs to be used up immediately. Make a list of what items would be beneficial to have during the winter months, and how they should be stored. Also, think about what might be tasty to cook or bake up too, to eat now, or to store as well.
And so, it came to pass that I was craving one of those quick and easy, no bake, pudding pies. You know the type, pudding and whipped topping mixed together, spread out into a graham cracker encrusted pie pan, cooled to firmness and oohed-aahed later on. Right, get the ingredients out, ready to start and then I notice bananas on the counter, very ripe bananas. Well, I could make banana bread, but I did not feel like baking. Could just slice them up and add to the pie mixture, and there I sat, stumped. Or was I?
Sitting in my dish rack was a 2-quart, deep Tupperware container and it started to talk to me. Alright, it did not really begin talking, but it was giving clues to a delicious idea. What if I made a dessert, that fit perfectly into that container, was not the typical no-bake, but kind of unique in itself? Instead of grinding up graham crackers, what if they remained whole, or slightly broken? What if I used them like I would ladyfingers, when I made tiramisu? (San Juan Record, November 15, 2017 edition for the tiramisu recipe) In other words, make a trifle!
While the trifle is more associated with England, the name origin is French, trufe, truffe, or truffle. This referred to a mushroom tuber, melanosporum vitt, which primarily grows in the Provence region, of France, from December to March. They are difficult to acquire, and quite costly, so, of course, craved by the wealthy. Wait, what about the candy? The truffle type candy got its name from the resemblance to the mushroom. These, of course, are more easily found, are a very sweet treat, and less expensive than the real thing.
The English trifle was an attempt to use up stale cake. Soaking the cake in sherry, or wine, it was layered, in a glass bowl, along with fruit and whipped cream. It was a quick dessert to make, and very pretty to serve and eat. When the English came to North America, recipes came with them. The trifle became very popular in the South, especially with the fermentation of corn which created various forms of whiskey and bourbon. A nickname for trifle was "Tipsy Parson" as it was said to have lured many a preacher off the wagon, literally.
Back to the bananas which ended up being sliced, and a component of a lovely trifle.
2 (1 oz.) boxes pudding, any flavor works, and sugar free can be used.
4 cups cold 2% milk
1 individual package of graham crackers (usually 3 in a box, so need only 1)
1 (8 oz.) tub whipped topping, lite or sugar free can be used.
Fresh fruit: 2 bananas cut into ¼ inch slices, quart box of berries, apple slices, or any type of
fruit that goes with the pudding flavor being used.
In a medium sized bowl, beat together pudding and cold milk, for two minutes; set aside to firm up.
In a small bowl, crush the graham crackers, but small bits can be left; does not have to be a fine texture (see Option).
To layer the trifle, a 2-quart deep bowl or container is required.
First layer: Spread half the crushed graham crackers.
Second layer: Spread out 1/3 pudding over graham crackers
Third layer: Spread out half of the fruit.
Fourth layer: Fold together remaining pudding with 1/3 whipped topping; spread out in bowl.
Fifth layer: Spread out remaining graham crackers.
Sixth layer: Spread out remaining whipped topping.
Seventh layer: Spread out remaining fruit.
Place lid or plastic wrap over bowl or container. Place in refrigerator for one hour to allow all layers to settle and set.
Makes 8 servings.
Option: If some of the graham crackers are very fine, set aside, two tablespoons, before beginning the layers. Sprinkle over the top before placing in the refrigerator.
While out, enjoying the color change of the leaves, why not have a fall themed picnic, and do not forget to bring the trifle for dessert.