Today is Asian Gaga's birthday (I think she has outgrown the nickname I gave her for this blog a while ago but it's too confusing to come up with a new one). As my bestest friend in the whole wide world, I like to bake her something extra special for her birthday each year. Last year it was the Mint Slice Cake. The year before was a Lady Gaga Cake. And before that was the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake. This year she requested something with passionfruit and lemon in it. I decided I wanted to make her a birthday trifle. I love trifles. I may have gotten slightly carried away. I drew a diagram and everything.
Behold, my Seven Layer Passionfruit and Lemon Trifle. It includes (starting from the bottom); a Passion Pop mousse, lemon cake, lemon and passionfruit curd, passiona (passionfruit soda) jelly, chocolate and passionfruit macarons, whipped cream with fresh passionfruit and mini meringues on top. The inspiration for this epic trifle came from several different places. But before I tell you about it, I need to tell you about what happened while I was making this trifle. The event that will forever be known to me as The Trifle Disaster of 2012.
I started this trifle two days in advance because I knew that all the different elements would need time to be prepped and chilled. Day one went smoothly, I made the passion pop mousse, the cake, curd, jelly and macarons. The next morning I worked at a leisurely pace to make the meringues and cream and it was going very smoothly. I was pleased. I had been taking a shot of each layer as I added it for the animated GIF further down in this post. All the components were done and I just had to take a shot of it before adding the last meringue layer. I turned my back for a second to find my camera and turned back just in time to watch the trifle slide off the spot where I had placed it and completely upend itself on my carpet. SPLAT. Completely destroyed. I screamed. A horror movie kind of scream, followed by a full-blown hysterical meltdown. A day and a half of work down the drain and I had to either give up or START ALL OVER AGAIN. Ugly crying ensued.
Yep. This kind of shit happens to me all the time. Because I'm unco and careless and messy. Like the time I dropped my camera into the middle of some freshly baked cupcakes. This time some kind of insane determination took over, and I refused to be defeated by my clumsiness. I scooped the mess off the carpet, threw it in the bin and started over (after A talked me down from my hysteria and bought me a whole bunch of new passionfruits). I made an absolute mess of my kitchen but by the end of the second day I had nearly recovered. It wasn't quite as neat and perfect as the first time around, but it was good enough. By the next morning I had a fully assembled trifle. Sighs of relief were abundant.
Most of the inspiration for this dessert came from a great passionfruit dessert I had at Hemingway's Manly which used Passion Pop, the iconic Aussie chick drink. I thought it was a great way to add a hint of nostalgia for our teenage years. It was not surprising that I got my ID checked when I went to buy a bottle of the passionfruit flavoured sparkling wine, they must have thought I was 16 or something. But it was worth it, the passion pop mousse is a delight to eat. It might be my favourite layer of this entire trifle. The pretty cubes of passionfruit soda flavoured jelly and crunchy mini meringues on top were inspired by some fabulous desserts that I tried at Quay recently. I decided on a whim to add the layer of macarons, remembering how pretty they looked in a Donna Hay trifle recipe from a while back. I made a chocolate passionfruit ganache for the macarons, which is one of my favourite macaron flavours. The moisture from the other layers does make the macarons turn soggy pretty quickly, so the last three layers are best left to be assembled right before serving. So, this weekend I made TWO trifles. I am insane but it was worth it because it's for my bestie and she deserves it, she is amazing. If you are as insane as me, I have included the recipe below. I advise you not to dump the entire contents on the floor right after you finish making it. I think I lost several years off my life this weekend. P.S. See if you can spot where disaster struck and I had to start over in the gif below. It's not the best gif ever, I was shooting handheld and had no idea if I was taking it from the same angle each time. Plus it's shot with two different trifles :P
Passionfruit & Lemon Trifle with Macarons
(I used a 15-19cm wide x 15cm tall trifle bowl)
Layer 1: Passion Pop Mousse
I made a half batch of Sprinkle Bakes Champagne Mousse, replacing the champagne with Passion Pop. If passion pop is unavailable you can replace it with sparkling mixed with passionfruit pulp to taste. Pour mousse mixture directly into the bottom of the trifle bowl and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
Layer 2: Lemon Cake
Prepare the lemon cake from this recipe, using a 17cm round cake tin instead of a rectangular tin. You may need to add 5 minutes to the baking time. Trim the edges of the cake if needed so that it will fit tightly over the top of the mousse layer.
Layer 3: Lemon & Passionfruit Curd
Juice and grated zest of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tbsp juice)
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
100g (bit less than 1/2 cup) sugar
70g (5 tbsp) butter, softened
Place all ingredients except the butter in a saucepan and place on low heat. Stir continously (and I mean it, stop watching it and it will turn to scrambled eggs within seconds), until it's thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain to remove passionfruit seeds (if you prefer) and whisk in butter until smooth. Pour into a bowl and cover surface with clingfilm. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to spread over top of cake layer.
Layer 4: Passiona Jelly
2 tbsp powdered gelatine
200ml (about 3/4 cup) + 600ml Passiona (about 2 1/2 cups) (or any passionfruit flavoured soda, I used Kirk's pasito)
Place 200ml passiona and powdered gelatine in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the gelatine is well dissolved. Pour gelatine mixture plus 600ml passiona into a cake tin or rectangular tray to set (I used a 24x32cm tray so that the jelly set 1cm thick). Chill in fridge until set, then cut using a long sharp knife into 1cm cubes. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to sprinkle over curd layer.
Layer 5: Passionfruit Chocolate Macarons
I used my plain macaron shell recipe, using yellow gel colouring to tint the shells and only piping regular 4cm rounds. For the ganache, I placed 150g chopped dark chocolate and pulp and seeds from 1 passionfruit in a bowl and then heated 100ml heavy cream in a small saucepan until nearly boiling and poured it over the chocolate. Leave it to melt for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth (if there are still unmelted bits, place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until smooth). Strain mixture to remove seeds, then chill until thick and cooled but still pipable. Pipe or spoon between macaron shells. Refrigerate in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble your trifle for serving.
Layer 6: Passionfruit Cream
300ml (about 1/4 cup) thickened/whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold through pulp and seeds from passionfruit. Chill until ready to assemble your trifle for serving.
Layer 7: Mini Meringues
I followed the instructions from Butter Me Up Brooklyn (but mine look no where near as pretty!), minus the orange zest. Keep in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble your trifle. Right before serving, assemble macaron layer, cream layer and place the mini meringues on top. Serve straight away.