Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Black Forest Trifle & {2013} A Year In Pictures

I can't believe how quickly 2013 has flown by. The years just seem to get shorter and shorter the older I get. I remember when I was a kid that time seemed to pass so slowly. My parents would always tell me to just wait until I was an adult and it would be completely different. I definitely know what they were talking about now.  I have put together a small (well, as small as I could go) collection of photos to summarize 2013.  This year has been truly amazing with so many things to be thankful for.  We celebrated the birth of two new babies, reconnected with family that moved back home, enjoyed several vacations and many day trips, and had a blast spending time with family and friends.  I have a ton of beautiful pictures of our nieces and nephews but I didn't include any here because I am not sure who is comfortable having their picture on the internet. 

We began 2013 in beautiful, sunny Florida where we got see some amazing wildlife and breathtaking sunsets, squish the sand between our toes in December, and enjoy quality time with some of our family.  This was K and I's first trip out of the New England-ish area together and K's first time ever flying.  It was a wonderful 'big adventure' for us and there could not have been a better way to ring in the New Year.

In the spring we spent a couple of days in Maine where we visited the Nubble Lighthouse, walked on Ogunquit Beach and the Marginal Way, got up wayyyy too early to watch the sunrise, and K got his yearly fill (although I'm sure he could always go for more) of Maine lobster.

The summer was filled with lots of barbeques with family and friends, swimming, hiking, and just generally enjoying the beautiful weather.  We had a great fourth of July at K's family summer camp and watched beautiful fireworks over the lake.

We celebrated Sadie's 5th birthday in July. I can't believe my tiny dog is already five years old; where has the time gone!? And the most exciting news of all this year, in August, we found out that I am pregnant with our first baby! I won't turn this into a giant gush about how excited we are, so I will just say that we couldn't be more happy.

This year, the fall foliage was particularly bright and beautiful which was very enjoyable. It was a fairly low key part of the year, other than on Halloween we found out that we are expecting a baby boy! We had many Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers and we were able to spend at least a little bit of time with most of our family and friends over the holidays. I am so grateful for how wonderful this holiday season has been.

Of course, this year in photos would not be complete without a few of my flower photos.  There were so many to choose from but I think these are my four favorites of the year (at the moment....) My overall favorite photo of the year is of Gunn Brook Falls.  I won my first blue ribbon with this photo in the Franklin County Fair photo contest.

2013 has been so wonderful and we are very much looking forward to seeing what 2014 will bring.  Happy New Year to everyone!

Now, hopefully I haven't overloaded you with pictures and feel-good happy descriptive words and you are still reading, so that I can tell you about this amazing trifle! I made this dessert for Christmas Eve and it came out perfect! I made a great vanilla raspberry trifle last year, but this was a thousand times better.  The brownies were deliciously chewy and held up great to the pudding and cherry sauce.  The homemade pudding was smooth with a very rich chocolate flavor, but the cherry sauce was the star of this dessert. The sauce was thick and tart, just the way cherry sauce should be and it perfectly complimented the richness of the rest of the dessert.  This trifle would be great at a party any time of year, but it was perfect for the holiday celebrations.  This recipe makes a pretty big trifle, so this is definitely dessert for a crowd!  

Black Forest Trifle

1 9x13 pan brownies

Assemble and bake one 9x13 pan of brownies.  I cheated and used a box mix this time because I had a crazy amount of other baking to do, but my classic brownies would be amazing.  Let the brownies cool completely and cut into 1 inch cubes right before assembling.

Chocolate Pudding
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

In a heat proof bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream until combined and smooth and then whisk in the egg yolks. In a medium or large sauce-pot stir together the milk and sugar and heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles form at the edges of the pot and the mixture is starting to steam.  You do not want to boil the milk mixture.

Carefully and slowly pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking constantly.  This will help temper the eggs so they can warm up slowly and not just turn into scrambled eggs.  Continue to pour the entire milk mixture into the eggs and whisk well.

Transfer the liquid back to the pot and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Boil for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.  Add the vanilla and chopped chocolate and let stand for 1 minute to allow the chocolate to melt. Whisk well until everything is melted together and well combined.

The mixture should be a thick pudding consistency but will thicken more as it cools.  Pass the pudding through a fine strainer into a clean bowl, to remove any lumps or chocolate bits that did not melt.  Lay a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the pudding to keep a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator.

Inspired by The Kitchn

Cherry Sauce
4 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar (more or less depending on how sweet your cherries are)
2 tbsp cornstarch

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce-pot and stir to dissolve the sugar and distribute the cornstarch.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft and and the sauce is thick and syrupy. Transfer the cherries to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled. 

Inspired by Let's Dish

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 heaping tbsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip just slightly longer until the sugar dissolves. Don't whip the cream until right before you are ready to assemble the trifle.


Fold about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate pudding to lightened the consistency a bit.  Start by creating a layer of brownie cubes at the bottom of a trifle or other tall glass bowl.  Add about  1/3 of the pudding mixture making sure you really get the pudding around the edges of the trifle dish so that you can clearly see all of your layers.  Then make a layer of 1/2 of the cherry sauce, followed by 1/3 of the whipped cream, again making sure you can see each of the layers.  Repeat this process with 1/3 brownies, 1/3 pudding, 1/2 cherries, 1/3 whipped cream and then the remaining brownies, pudding, and top with whipped cream.  Garnish with some sprinkles or shaved chocolate, if you wish.  The trifle can be assembled a few hours before serving and stored in the refrigerator.  Leftovers will last a day or so before everything becomes too mushy, but this is so delicious I doubt there will be much in the way of leftovers!


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing all your beautiful photo's with us and the heavenly trifle on Christmas Eve! Wishing you guys all the best for a very, very happy and healthy 2014 with lots of new adventures! Happy New Year! xoxoxo