Trifles are a year-round dessert for Mary Ann Potter.
Mary Ann, and her husband Ron, of Blue Springs, have four daughters and nine grandchildren. Both Mary Ann and Ron are retired teachers. Mary Ann taught home economics for 30 years and retired from the Independence school district, while Ron retired from the Blue Springs district, where he taught elementary school.
Now they are very busy with their antique business, with a local booth and traveling to shows. In addition, they support local community and historical organizations, including the Vaile Mansion and the Blue Springs Historical Society.
Q: What is a trifle and when do you serve it?
A trifle is a chilled, layered dessert. I serve them all year and I find that everyone loves them.
For a Christmas trifle, I layer green pistachio pudding with cherry pie filling. My Fourth of July trifle includes layers of white cake with cherry pie filling and blueberries.
This trifle is a Tiramisu Trifle, so it includes chocolate and coffee, making it the ideal dessert to serve for an Italian dinner, such as when serving lasagna. It is a great dessert to serve this time of year and makes a delicious dessert for a cookout or tailgate party. I use lighter or lower-fat ingredients in it and it still tastes great.
We stay very busy with various community groups and our antique business so I appreciate that I can make a trifle in advance and serve it a day or two later. I enjoy volunteering at the Vaile Mansion gift shop and Ron serves on their board, and I have made trifles to serve at their receptions and special events.
Q: When did you learn to cook and what inspires you?
I grew up in Brookfield, Missouri, and my high school home economics teacher taught me to cook, inspiring me to become a teacher.
I went to college in Kirksville, Missouri, then began teaching. I taught all of the subjects in the home economics curriculum, now called family and consumer sciences, including foods and sewing, but I especially enjoyed teaching the foods classes. It was rewarding to inspire the students to cook.
Q: What suggestions can you offer for someone wanting to learn to cook?
Begin by finding a simple recipe online. Many recipes include a video with step-by-step instructions so you can follow along. It will be a great start.
Makes 12 servings
4 cups skim milk
2 (3.9-ounce) packages instant dark chocolate pudding mix
1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, softened
½ cup brewed, cold coffee
½ cup coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua)
24 ladyfingers or 1 (16-ounce) loaf pound cake, cut into cubes
1 (12-ounce) carton light whipped topping
½ cup mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings
Place the milk, pudding mix, and cream cheese in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix until well blended. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the coffee and liqueur. Set aside.
Place a third of the ladyfingers or cake cubes in a trifle bowl. Drizzle with a third of the coffee mixture. Spread a third of the pudding mixture evenly over the cake. Spread a third of the whipped topping over the pudding. Repeat these layers two more times.
Top with chocolate chips or shavings. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
Tip: A trifle bowl is a clear glass bowl with straight sides, so it shows off the layers of the dessert.
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Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over 14 cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com.