Editor and publisher Gabrielle Lichterman of Four Weeks, a monthly online lifestyle magazine for women, asked if I would create a recipe using Champagne for the January issue. I don’t really drink anything alcoholic so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. But after some deliberation, and in the spirit of the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to come up with a Champagne dessert recipe. I’m so glad that I agreed to do it because this raspberry Champagne trifle was absolutely delicious. And I got to practice making genoise, the classic European sponge cake, as well as making sabayon, a light and foamy sauce typically made with egg yolks, sugar and wine.
Both techniques are based on beating air into eggs. Genoise is leavened only by the air beaten into the batter. Folding the flour and butter into the lofty egg mixture must be done very gently to keep all the air you whipped into the eggs. Sabayon (known as zabaglione in Italian) is made by whipping egg yolks and sugar with a liquid (like Champagne or wine) over simmering water until thickened and increased in volume. Sabayon will deflate over time, so cooling it in an ice bath and folding some lightly whipped cream into the sabayon will help it keep a bit longer.
This recipe looks long but the genoise and raspberry puree can be made in advance. The Champagne sabayon cream is best made right before assembling the trifle. I layered my ingredients in a baking dish and served it in slices with raspberries. But it’s just as good scooped from a trifle bowl and served family style.
And don’t forget to check out the other Champagne recipes at Four Weeks Magazine.
Raspberry Champagne Trifle
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup Champagne
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 recipe orange genoise (see recipe below)
1 1/4 cups raspberry puree (see recipe below)
To make the Champagne sabayon cream:
In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt and Champagne. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (double-boiler style). Whisk vigorously until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set bowl into an ice bath (a larger bowl one-third full of ice water). Whisk occasionally until sabayon is cool.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, whip heavy whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cooled sabayon.
To assemble the trifle:
Using a serrated knife, cut the orange genoise into 4 rectangles. Slice each piece in half horizontally making a total of 8 pieces.
In the bottom of a 3 1/2-quart glass bowl or dish, spread about 1/4 cup of the raspberry puree. Top the puree with about 3/4 cup of the Champagne sabayon. Cover the sabayon with a layer of genoise. It's okay to piece together the genoise pieces. Repeat layering sequence (raspberry puree, sabayon, and genoise, ending with the sabayon). You may have some puree and sabayon leftover.
Refrigerate trifle for 6 hours (and up to 2 days) before serving.
(makes one 12x17 cake)
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour, sifted then measured by spoon & sweep method
(or 5.25 oz cake flour, weighed then sifted)
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3 oz) unsalted butter
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 12x17x1 sheet pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
Sift the flour, 2 tbsp sugar, and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside flour mixture.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Set aside melted butter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar together by hand. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (double-boiler style). Stir with a whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and attach the bowl the mixer. Using the whisk beater attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and is thick and pale in color, about 4 -5 minutes.
Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped egg mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour until just incorporated being careful not to deflate your batter. Repeat with another third of the flour. Add vanilla and orange zest with final third.
Scoop about 1 cup of the batter into the melted butter and stir to combine. Pour butter mixture into back into the batter and fold to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan. Gently smooth the top.
Bake for 10 minutes then rotate the pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes more, or until golden brown and the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed.
Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Invert onto a countertop. Remove the pan and parchment. Flip the cake upright and allow cake to cool on a rack.
Genoise can be made 1 or 2 days in advance. Wrap well with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
(makes about 1 1/4 cup)
12 oz package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
2 tbsp Champagne
2 tbsp sugar (if needed)
Puree thawed raspberries in a food processor. Remove the seeds by straining the puree through fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in Champagne. Taste puree and add up to 2 tbsp sugar if required.
Puree can be made one day in advance. Store in refrigerator.