Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lemon Berry Trifle: A Mother's Day Tribute

I have been baking and cooking a good bit lately and have had a hard time knowing what to post about this week.  I thought maybe a dessert, since it has been a few posts since I’ve written about sweet stuff.  I also thought I might write about something Mother-inspired.  Then it hit me – I have to write about the Lemon Berry Trifle! 

Trifles remind me of my mom.  And the making of this special trifle was done with a young friend who has a great mom.

Trifles are redemptive.  Trifles can be made out of broken brownies or torn apart cakes, or overdone cookies, or dry muffins, (or a freshly baked cake).  But when put in a pretty dish and layered with a little love and yumminess, something beautiful and delicious is created.  Mothers have the ability to do this too.

My mom has a trifle philosophy in life: When your cake sticks to the pan and falls apart, make a trifle; when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When you are feeling left out, include someone else. When you know how to do something, teach someone else (don’t keep it to yourself).

These philosophies have shaped me and on this day, I celebrate the impact that she has had on my life!

I was brainstorming with my friend Amy G. a couple of months ago about how I might could earn some extra money for my upcoming trip to India.  (I am preparing to go see some friends who live there with a small team from my church).  As we were brainstorming she asked if I would be willing to do a private baking lesson with her 10 year old daughter, Mary Grace, as a fundraiser.  I said I would love to do that.  I told her to talk to M.G. about what she might like to bake and to have her email me.  She is very into baking and watching cooking shows on TV (especially the cupcake ones).  When I got her email I was tickled and amazed at her culinary ambition.  She wanted to make red velvet equestrian cupcakes and a fruit trifle with a berry compote, “whatever that is”, she said. 

It was a good thing we had several hours, because we got serious.  We made both of these requested desserts and had a grand time.  Mary Grace is a great cook and was excited to try some new techniques.  (I think zesting was her favorite.  We zested the lemon for the pound cake and she enjoyed it so much she wanted to zest other things.  We ended up using it to shave chocolate for top of the cupcakes. She called it chocolate zest).

For the trifle, I suggested we make a pound cake and flavor it lemon.  She agreed.  So, we used my standard sour cream poundcake recipe and substituted a carton of lemon lowfat yogurt for some of the sour cream, and added the shaved zest of one lemon.  The cake was DELICIOUS! M. G. had seen her mom slice open the cake horizontally when making a shortcake, so we did that, and then broke the cake into pieces.
Meanwhile, we made a compote.  We did some researching about compotes and which would be good with this combination of flavors.  We decided on a blend of blueberries, strawberries and lemon. (P.S. it's strawberry season, make the most of it).

Then we made some fresh whipped cream and sliced some strawberries. 

And then we worked together to layer. 

It was a lovely trifle.

My mom’s trifles usually have a layer of pudding.
I have made trifles with a layer of yogurt blended with sweetened condensed milk.  You really can’t go wrong.  You just need some kind of bready/cakey layer, some kind of gooey layer and some whipped cream. It is versatile and beautiful and can be decadent (with chocolate and candy bars) or light (with fruit).  It has lots of textures and its own kind of serving dish.  What’s not to love about a trifle?

When I was talking to M.G.’s mom about this experience, she said as much as she likes to cook and contribute to her daughter’s cooking skills, M.G.  sometimes wants to go “beyond her ”.  She said, that’s where she benefits from having others get involved who enjoy this more and are skilled in a different way than her.  I so appreciate that and agree.  There are times you need another personality or skill-set to come in and invest in your child.  I believe that is a great strength in parenting – when you can see the gaps you have and seek others to supplement.

I am thankful to those women who have done this for me with my kids and continue to do so.  I believe it takes a village.

Happy Mother’s Day! Today I am thankful for my mom, who poured her life out for my sister and me, and continues to generously give us so much of herself.  I am thankful for my grandmothers from whom I learned much about loving and serving people.  I am thankful for Dave’s late mother who taught him how to love and serve – for that my children, I and so many others are blessed. And I am thankful for all the other women who have filled in the gaps and have invested in my life and the lives of my children... even with our broken pieces.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Mothers day, Julie!

    I love your Mom's cake philosophy and wish I had heard it sooner! Oh, the number of broken cakes I could have redeemed by turning them into something beautiful and equally if not more delicious!

    I hope your day was special and you were well celebrated!