It’s been quite the couple of years for merry old England. There was the royal wedding last year, and the Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics this year. I don’t know if we count as full-fledged Anglophiles, but as Episcopalians (the American incarnation of the Church of England), I’d say it’s probably the country that draws us the most. We woke up early for the royal wedding, and we can spot the Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury from 1,000 paces by his eyebrows alone. (We even named our firstborn for him, kind-of-sort-of.) However, despite a degree in International Relations and my self-professed love for England, I still can’t keep track of the nomenclature for the place. Which is the UK? And Great Britain? And England? But don’t tell me. I can look it up. I can just never remember it all myself.
So, when we planned dinner for the night of the opening ceremonies, of course we had to pay homage to Mother England (or is it Mother UK? That just does not sound right). We made bangers and mustard mash (How Easy is That?), and they were fantastic. You know it’s good when your husband looks across the table at you and says, “I don’t know anybody else who eats this well at home.” I asked my favorite Whole Foods meat guys (seriously, I feel like they’re my little brothers by now – they are so helpful and sweet, and often hilarious – get to know your neighborhood meat/fish/poultry people!) what they would make, and they suggested something mild. We went with a Polish pork sausage (I know, she says chicken or veal sausages in the recipe), and it was awesome. The mustard mash was equally good – who would have thought to put mustard in mashed potatoes??
Then, there was trifle! I can’t even look at a trifle dish without thinking of this episode of Friends. The audio is terrible in that link, but if you haven’t seen that episode (in other words, if you weren’t born in the 1970s or 1980s), it’s worth muddling through the bad sound, because it’s hysterically funny. Poor Rachel. Needless to say, the Barefoot Contessa version (Family Style) did not contain “beef, sauteed with onions and peas.” It was incredibly tasty, though.
My little custard stirrer can be seen in the background here.
He stirred the custard without complaint – he always loves to help. You can see in the foreground that I chose a Canadian jam – they still have the Queen on their money, right? My little helper continued to help me with the whipped cream. If you want to simultaneously entertain and impress your children while terrifying the dog, let the children make whipped cream in the stand mixer. “You mean I get to turn it all the way up to 10?!” Two minutes later … “I am the master!!” So much fun. (Which reminds me, not necessarily about the dessert/sweets angle, but everything else with this project – we are finding that it’s a great way to encourage our kids to try new things. Even if they don’t try what’s on our plates, it’s great for them to see that *we* are trying new things, too. That sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t, it’s OK to make mistakes and not like something, but that we will still try it.)
The trifle dish is bigger than it looks, so if you are making this recipe, be sure to account for the size of your dish and make the full recipe even if you don’t think you’ll need it to fill it up. I used some of the leftover raspberry glop from the Eton Mess, and it mixed right in. It was as delicious as it was beautiful. This would be another dessert that’s great for guests, because it looks impressive without too much fuss, and it can be made ahead of time. If you don’t have a trifle dish but want to try this out, I don’t see why a clear glass bowl wouldn’t suffice, or even a (gasp) pyrex dish.
I used a pre-baked vanilla pound cake instead of making an orange one from scratch, and I didn’t make the cream an orange cream, so this is more of a “raspberry vanilla trifle” rather than a raspberry orange trifle. Regardless, it was delicious. Those substitutions are fine, but I wouldn’t go so far as to use Jell-O pudding or Cool Whip unless you want to make Her Majesty look like this: