Toasted nuts, crisp oats, and fresh berries—picked at their sweet, fragile peak of ripeness—make this trifle recipe a summer classic.

Why should you grow your own produce? Says British cooking phenomenon (and grow-your-own fanatic) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: "It's a form of self expression."
Servings: Serves 8
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup mixed chopped nuts
  • 1 ounce grated dark chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Drambuie or whiskey
  • A little sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 pounds soft fruit , such as strawberries (sliced), raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or red currants
Make custard: Split vanilla bean lengthwise; place in a saucepan. Add cream. Bring almost to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let infuse about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar. Carefully remove vanilla bean from saucepan; scrape seeds back into the cream. Pour hot cream into eggs a little bit at a time, whisking constantly. Return entire mixture to saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 11 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl; let cool. Refrigerate until thick, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make trifle: Preheat oven to 350°. Spread oats and nuts onto two baking sheets; toast nuts about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Toast oats about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Let cool.

In a bowl, mix oats, nuts, and chocolate. In another bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes, stirring in the alcohol toward the end (if you use whiskey, add sugar to taste). Place half the fruit in a large glass bowl. Spoon custard over the fruit. Sprinkle with a layer of oat mixture. Add half the cream, then the remaining fruit. Finish off with cream and a sprinkling of oat mixture. Serve quickly, before oats lose their crispness.

Adapted from The River Cottage Cookbook, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Copyright © 2001, 2008. Photography © 2001, 2008 by Simon Wheeler. Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press.


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