Peach Trifle | Peaches Please

Okay, I could talk about peaches, angel food cake, pastry cream, sugared almonds and rum, but I think those ingredients kind of sell themselves. I’m not sure what I could say that would get you more excited about eating Peach Trifle than just listing the ingredients, so let’s talk about something else instead. And because I’m the boss of Peaches Please, I get to choose the topic.

So, Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek The Next Generation, or TNG.  It first aired in 1987, when I was pretty young, but I have an older brother so, like Star Wars, Star Trek is part of my childhood lore. I grew up with the strong, beautiful voice of Patrick Stewart, the fire of Doctor Crusher, the subtle humor and stiff honor of Lt. Worf, the creativity and friendship of Geordie, the warmth of Diana Troi, the  curiosity and intelligence of Data and Riker’s beard. And yes, I had a huge crush on Wesley Crusher, known in real life as Whil Wheaton, geek hero to the masses.

Peach Trifle | Peaches Please

I don’t know how I feel about this picture. For some reason if feels like the 80′s is calling and wants its drop cloth back.

I spend a lot of time by myself in my kitchen, so I often have the TV running in the background. This works best if it’s a show I know so I don’t get sucked into watching rather than doing work, so I recently decided to start rewatching the whole Star Trek TNG series. I found that I remembered the first season almost perfectly, but the subsequent seasons (I’m in season 3) seem almost new, with a hint of a remembered plot line or moment here and there. This indicates to me that either I was held captive in front of the TV when that first season aired, it has run in syndication more than the other seasons or I’ve previously attempted the rewatch.

It’s also interesting looking at certain topics from the perspective of the late 80′s. I just watched an episode about terrorism and there’s no way that episode would have been written today. In fact, I’m not sure the series would even exist today. TNG relies on the premise that people are essentially good at their core. That we can come together as a species in peace, with no avarice, prejudice or war amongst ourselves. It’s a beautiful, hopeful concept that seems out of place in a world that celebrates shows such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men and A Game of Thrones. These are all excellent series, but ones that tend to dwell on the more brutal aspects of human nature, which just makes me love the optimism of Star Trek TNG all that much more. I’m glad I grew up with a show that celebrates the best in people and depicts a way of life to which we can aspire.

It’s also witty, moving at times and creative and watching it again is like meeting a childhood friend as an adult and getting to know her all over again. Also, Star Trek was doing the “walk and talk” well before the West Wing. And now, I will leave you with a few observations:

1. Thankfully, the production values drastically increased after the first season.

2. The Beard. Jonathan Frakes (Commander William Riker) grew a beard between the first and second seasons and the powers that be decided to have him keep the beard. Best decision they ever made and every once in a while there’s a great line in the show about The Beard. My favorite so far is from Q: “Oh, you’re so stolid. You weren’t like that before The Beard.” (disclaimer – I really like beards on men. It’s a thing.)

3. Worf is hilarious. He has this wonderful serious quality to everything he says, which makes him even funnier. For instance, when Guinan hands Worf a drink to try.

Guinan: All right, try this.
Worf: What is it?
Guinan: Just try it.
[Worf takes a sip. Looks pleasantly surprised.] Guinan: You see? It’s an Earth drink; prune juice.
Worf: [with gusto and utter sincerity] A warrior’s drink.

4. Brent Spiner, who plays Data, does a tremendous job. He committed 100% to the character and does some truly subtle and impressive acting.

5. The Borg are really creepy. I think I find them creepier now than I did as a kid.

6. Patrick Stewart is still my hero and I would listen to him read the phone book.

Peach Trifle | Peaches Please

Peach Trifle
Recipe By:
Recipe Type: Dessert
Serves: 10
  • Angel Food Cake
  • 1¾ C Sugar
  • 1 C Cake Flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 12 Egg Whites, room temperature
  • ¼ C Water, warm
  • 1½ Tbsp Dark Rum
  • 1½ tsp Cream of Tartar
  • ½ tsp Almond Extract
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pastry Cream
  • 2 C Whole Milk
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • ½ C Sugar
  • 5 Tbsp Flour
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Rum
  • Sugared Almonds
  • 1 C Sliced Almonds
  • ⅓ C Sugar
  • Peaches
  • 8 to 10 Peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Rum
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Whipped Cream
  • 1 C Heavy Cream, very cold
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Dark Rum
  1. Angel Food Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Process the sugar in a food processor until very fine.
  4. Add half of the sugar to the flour and salt and sift them together. Reserve the remaining sugar.
  5. Combine the egg whites, warm water, rum, cream of tartar, almond extract and vanilla extract in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin whipping the whites on low.
  6. Once the whites have started to build up some structure, increase the speed to medium and slowly start adding the remaining sugar.
  7. Continue whipping the whites until medium peaks form.
  8. Dust the top of the whites with some of the flour mixture and then gently fold the flour into the whites by hand. Repeat until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated into the whites.
  9. Transfer the batter into an ungreased tube pan or angel food cake pan and then bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and completely cool upside down. If your pan doesn't have the feet extending from the top of the pan for this purpose, you can balance the cake pan upside down on an upside down pint glass (the inner tube rests on the bottom of the glass).
  11. Pastry Cream
  12. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and add both it and the milk to a pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
  13. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the flour and salt.
  14. When the milk is simmering, temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking furiously all the while.
  15. Pour the warmed eggs back into the pot with the remaining milk and whisk over the medium heat until the the pastry cream thickens and just barely starts to boil. (it's more like a glub than a boil, since it will be pretty thick.)
  16. Transfer the pastry cream to a sieve and work the pastry cream through the sieve to a bowl set in an ice bath. This removes any lumps and also cools the pastry down quickly.
  17. As soon as you've finished straining, stir in the rum. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
  18. Sugared Almonds
  19. Set up a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
  20. Combine the sugar and sliced almonds in a pan over medium heat. As the sugar melts, stir the almonds and sugar to get everything coated. Once the sugar has completely melted and started to darken, remove the almonds from the heat and spread them out on the greased cookie sheet to cool.
  21. Peaches
  22. Toss the sliced peaches with the sugar and rum and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
  23. Whipped Cream
  24. Whip the cream with the sugar and rum until medium peaks form.
  25. Assembly
  26. Take a quarter of the angel food cake and tear it into pieces. Line the bottom of a trifle dish or bowl with the angel food cake. Cover with ⅓ of the pastry cream. Top the pastry cream with ⅓ of the peaches, followed by a good coating of the almonds.
  27. Repeat twice, so you have a total of three layers of each component, reserving some of the almonds for garnish.
  28. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the trifle and garnish with the remaining sugared almonds.
  29. Serve immediately.
If pressed for time, you can use store-bought angel food cake and whipped cream in lieu of homemade.

This also works well when made up in individual small bowls or mason jars.

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