Back at the dawnatime, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and my cell phone flipped open like a Classic Trek communicator, we used to have celebratory gatherings in the home. Yes, chickabiddies, more than ten people at once! Unmasked! Our faces naked to one another’s eyes, and, more importantly, easier of access, for the pie to make it into the pie-hole. I never went in for holiday decor. I figure a real cloth tablecloth is good. I believe in putting a few very fine dishes on said tablecloth, such as a whole baked him, some garlic bread where the garlicky butter nearly outweighs the bread, and a colossal dessert. Wait until an hour after the first guest arrives, and the entire table will be covered with very fine dishes. This was called “pot luck,” chickabiddies, and it’s sheer genius.
When making a big dessert for a crowd, however, you want to be sure that there will be no leftovers. Crazy as it sounds, it is possible to do a batch of Santa-frosted brownies, some coconut-rum-balls, a pineapple upside down cake, or a tower of meringues, and have leftovers. This, not so much.
Boozy Chocolate Trifle
this dessert is highly alcoholic
serves twelve to fifteen drunks
2 to 3 lb. pound cake
Chocolate marble poundcake is best.
You can substitute any rich chocolate cake.
16 oz dark semisweet chocolate chips
I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips.
Yes, this is more than one 10-oz bag.
Oh woe, what will you do with the extra chips?
8 to 12 oz orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau
8 oz bitter orange marmalade
12 oz whipping cream or more
1/4 c sugar
The Cake Layer
Slice the pound cake in thick slabs. If you are using a frosted cake, cut the frosting off and eat it yourself while you are making this recipe, alternating with sips of wine or whisky to cut the gooiness. Line the inside of a large clear glass bowl with the cake slabs. Sprinkle all but 4 T of the orange liqueur over the cake, soaking it completely. There should be some free liquid slopping in the bottom of the bowl. Set the rest of the liqueur aside.
Heat the marmalade carefully in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until it pours freely. Pour the marmalade over the soppy cake slabs.
The Dark Chocolate Mousse Layer
Put the chocolate chips in a glass or plastic bowl and pour 4 oz (1/2 c) liquid whipping cream over them. Heat in the microwave in 30-second bursts to melt the chocolate, stirring very thoroughly after each 30 seconds. Once the chocolate chips are completely melted and mixed with the cream, stir in 1 T or more orange liqueur to “finish” the chocolate and stop it from overheating. Fail to do this and your chocolate may be all manky and hard by the time the cream is whipped.
Whip the rest of the whipping cream with 1/4 c sugar and the rest of the liqueur, until stiff peaks form. Pour half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and fold it in carefully so that the volume stays high. This is your chocolate mousse.
Pour the chocolate mousse over the cake. It should be about three inches deep. Give the whole thing a gentle jiggle, so that the chocolate mousse sinks down between the boozy cake slabs.
The Whipped Cream Layer
Pile the rest of the whipped cream on top of the chocolate mousse layer. I usually save a tablespoon of marmalade and dribble it on top of the whipped cream, because that’s as close to fancy presentation as I can handle.
Alternatives to the Orange Version
This trifle can also be made with Framboise (raspberry liqueur) and frozen raspberries mixed with raspberry jam, or with Kirsch (cherry liqueur) or even just whisky and boozy cherries. For a nonalcoholic version of the cherries, use canned Morelli cherries (available in a jar at your imported groceries or health food store), and use the liquid the cherries come in instead of Kirsch or whisky. Note: canned pie filling is right out. I suppose some sort of philistine would try it with canned peaches and peach schnappes. I don’t personally know anyone who would do such thing.
My favorite way to make boozy cherries is to soak dried sour Montmorency cherries in bourbon or Irish whisky for a few days (or weeks). In place of the orange liqueur step above, sprinkle the cherries over the cake, along with the now-cherry-flavored whisky. This will make you all sticky.
For some weird reason I can find no record that Pog (Person Of Girth) ever served this trifle to her team of Coed Demon Sluts. Surely this is a sign of negligence somewhere. However, if you want to get very, very hungry while reading hilarious stories about feral women who sign contracts with Hell to become succubi, you can learn a lot about what Pog does cook for her team. Currently, the first book is free.