This trifle or parfait is vividly colorful and showy yet can – in fact should- be made in advance. Yes, it is custom designed for after the Passover Seder.
Tart Lemon Curd:
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted, non-hydrogenated, non-dairy margarine, diced and chilled
Strawberry Basil Sauce:
- 3 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut in half (about 6 cups), reserving 6 for garnish
- ¾ cup white grape juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 15 large basil leaves, cut in thin chiffonade, plus another few leaves for garnish
- 1¾ cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
- 9 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup (14 grams) potato starch
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
To prepare the lemon curd:
- Place the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until thick and pale in color. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan and set it over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it thickens and takes on the consistency of a pudding. Be careful not to let the mixture come to a boil or it will curdle. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the margarine until it is melted and completely incorporated. Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap that is pressed against the curd and set in the refrigerator to chill for about 1 hour. This can be made up to three days in advance. Stir in the fresh basil chiffonade before serving.
To prepare the strawberry and basil sauce:
- Combine the strawberry halves, grape juice, and sugar in a saucepan and set it over high heat. Cook, uncovered, for about 2 minutes, until the liquid begins to boil rapidly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the strawberries are soft, but not mushy. Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate in a covered container until chilled. This can be made up to 3 days in advance.
To prepare the sponge cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt cake pan with a coating of nonstick vegetable oil spray and set aside.
- Pour the sugar in a food processor and pulse for 1½ to 2 minutes, until it has the consistency of very fine sand, but not powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks and sugar and mix it on medium-high speed until fluffy. While that is mixing, pour the egg whites into a large, perfectly clean mixing bowl, and whisk vigorously until they hold stiff peaks.
- Add the potato starch, salt, and lemon zest to the egg-yolk mixture and mix on high until fully combined. Add ⅓ of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Remove the bowl and its contents from mixer stand, and with a wide spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Gently pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is a pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, but it is not overly dry. Remember that the cake will continue to cook in the pan after it has been removed from the oven. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
To assemble and serve:
- Assemble six 4- to 5-inch tall glasses, or dessert serving dishes. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the lemon curd into each. With a sharp knife, cut the cake into slices, and then trim as necessary, circles the diameter of your serving glass, about 1-inch deep. In each glass, top the lemon curd with a piece of cake, spoon 2 tablespoons of strawberry over it, then another layer of cake, 2 tablespoons of the lemon curd, a strawberry and a garnish of basil leaves.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, for about 5 hours (the sponge cake will absorb the strawberry and basil sauce and it will have pudding-like quality). You can choose whichever version you like best. This can also be served in a large trifle bowl, family style.