"It was a fortnight before Christmas, and everyone agreed that this would be a real Christmas, such as had not been seen for many years. There was a delightful cold nip in the air, as exhilarating as good news; the sky was grey and overcast, and the streets were covered with a thick layer of snow. Few sights are more charming than that of a town covered with a new-fallen, clean, white snow; and how pretty it is to watch the tiny flakes drift downward through the air as if there were a wedding in the sky and the fairies were throwing confetti..." -Excerpt from The Mysterious Toyshop by Cyril W. Beaumont, 1891-1976.
Butter and flour a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Prepare the cake according to package directions, but use 1/2 cup of the sherry in place of 1/2 cup water. When baked, let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cake into large chunks, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and remaining 1 cup sherry into the top of a double boiler. Whisk until completely combined. Place the top pan over simmering water (do not let water touch the bottom of the top pan). With a wooden spoon, stir over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until the custard is quite thick, about the consistency of mayonnaise. Let cool. Whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar. Take half of the whipped cream and add it to the cooled custard, stirring well. To assemble: In the bottom of a trifle bowl or a 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum foil pan, layer 1/3 of the cake cubes, 1/3 of the raspberries, and 1/3 of the custard. Continue layering, ending with custard. Take the remaining whipped cream and completely cover the top of the custard. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with additional whipped cream, fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint, if desired.
Estelle's Peanut Butter Banana Trifle
3 cups milk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 medium-size ripe bananas
1 (1-lb.) package peanut butter sandwich cookies
Crushed chocolate covered toffee bits
2 cups of sweetened whipped cream
Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted.
Fill a large bowl with ice. Place saucepan in ice, and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until custard mixture is thoroughly chilled.
Meanwhile, cut bananas into 1/4-inch slices. Crush cookies into small chunks.
Layer pudding mixture into a large glasses alternating with bananas, cookies and chocolate bits. Spoon remaining pudding mixture over bananas and cookies. Top with sweetened whipped cream and almonds. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and slivered almonds!