An end to Lent

Sunday, April 5, 2015
You may remember, six weeks ago in this space, I shared that I was giving up sweets for Lent. I'm happy to say that I stuck to it faithfully, although it seemed to get more challenging as we approached Easter. I must admit that this week, I googled "when is Lent over" so I didn't accidentally give up sweets for a day - or an hour - too long. One of my ministers confirmed that Lent extended to sundown on Saturday. (I may have eaten a celebratory blondie at the stroke of sundown last night.)

The only way I can bid farewell to Lent properly is to post a dessert recipe worthy of a six-plus week wait. I received my Easter issue of Canadian Living in the mail around the first of March, and have been waiting ever since to make these Mini Carrot Cake Trifles. I served them for our Easter dessert tonight, and in so doing, found a new classic.

A poem to celebrate Easter, and spring, and new beginnings:

"Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

"Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. The lion
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it."

- "In Perpetual Spring", Amy Gerstler

Mini Carrot Cake Trifles
(from Canadian Living magazine)
Makes 12 servings

Cream Cheese Custard:
 6 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk (first amount)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk (second amount)
1 package (250 grams, 8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 tsp vanilla

Carrot Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated peeled carrots (about 2 large)

Assembly:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 can (400 mL) pineapple chunks
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream (35%)

1. For the Cream Cheese custard:

In large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/2 cup milk, sugar and cornstarch. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups milk and three-quarters of the cream cheese over medium heat, whisking, just until smooth and bubbles form around edge. Gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture. Return to saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick enough to mound on spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl; stir in vanilla. Place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. Make up to 24 hours in advance.

2. For the Carrot Cake:

While custard is chilling, in large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. In separate bowl, beat together eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil and vanilla; stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in carrots. Scrape into 2 parchment paper-lined 8" x 4" loaf pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through. Make up to 24 hours in advance, wrapping in plastic wrap and storing at room temperature.

3. For the Assembly:

Cut carrot cake into 3/4 inch cubes.

Cook brown sugar, butter and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring, until melted. Stir in walnuts. Cook, stirring, until walnuts are toasted and coated, about 4 minutes. Reserve 12 pieces for garnish; coarsely chop remaining walnuts. Reserving 1/2 cup of the juice, drain pineapple and coarsely chop.

In each of twelve 12-ounce glasses, add scant 1/2 cup of the cake; drizzle 1 tsp pineapple juice into each glass. Top each with scant 2 Tbsp pineapple and 2 tsp chopped walnuts. Spoon rounded 2 Tbsp custard over each. Repeat layers once. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Just before serving, beat remaining cream cheese with 2 Tbsp granulated sugar until fluffy. Slowly beat in cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon over trifle and top each with a reserved walnut.



27 comments:

Julie said...

Congratulations that's a long time without sweets. Did you notice that you craved them less? I keep reading if you stop eating sweets you'll will stop craving them. I have such a sweet tooth. The trifles look delicious, one of my favorite desserts.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on sticking to your resolve and giving up sweets. That would have been SO hard for me. Awesome dessert to celebrate you made it.

Gloria Baker said...

I love these little carrot trifles!
Look delicious Beth!

Beth said...

Julie, I definitely craved them less, although I was pretty happy to eat them again!

grace said...

for me, giving up sweets for an amount of time would be a challenge and success with that would definitely be celebrated! good for you!

Angie Schneider said...

Congratulations, Beth! Though I don't really have a sweet tooth, 6-week without sweets would be quite tough for me. These carrot cake trifles look very tempting!

Vicki Bensinger said...

Congratulations Beth for giving up sweets. The first time I did it was when I was pregnant with my first child. I did everything text book. By the second I ate malted milk balls daily. It wasn't until recently that I've really tried to ween myself off of sweets and bread in an effort to keep my girlish figure. Kudo's to you - I know it was tough to do.

Great recipe by the way! I'm printing it off.

Vicki Bensinger said...

Congratulations Beth for giving up sweets. The first time I did it was when I was pregnant with my first child. I did everything text book. By the second I ate malted milk balls daily. It wasn't until recently that I've really tried to ween myself off of sweets and bread in an effort to keep my girlish figure. Kudo's to you - I know it was tough to do.

Great recipe by the way! I'm printing it off.

Laura Dembowski said...

Cream cheese custard sounds amazing! These parfaits sound totally irresistible.

Valerie Gamine said...

Hooray for the return of all things sugar! These trifles look delicious!!

Kayte said...

Yes, please. :-)

Cathleen said...

This looks like a well earned dessert :) Congrats on lasting that long! I tried going a week without chocolate and kept needing to start over.. :(

Barbara said...

Perfect dessert to end Lent! Good for you for hanging in there, Beth!

Jayanthi Sindhiya said...

Fantastic Dessert...Love the idea of using cream cheese in custard!

Cakelaw said...

These carrot cake trifles look devine and are well deserved after Lent. Hope you had a fun Easter.

Linda said...

The carrot cake trifles look scrumptious! Thank you so much for sharing and warm greetings from Montreal. :)

Linda said...

The carrot cake trifles look scrumptious! Thank you so much for sharing and warm greetings from Montreal. :)

Joanne said...

GOOD FOR YOU for sticking to your guns on this! You did great...way better than I could have! These carrot cake parfaits look so good. the perfect way to celebrate getting to eat sugar again!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Glad you made it through Lent! And you're celebrating your return to sweets with a goodie. This looks excellent -- thanks. And thanks for the poem, too -- that is new to me.

Monica said...

Congrats on sticking it out and making it through Lent. That is serious! And this parfait is definitely worthy of the long wait. I hope you savored every bite. What was it like after six weeks...did you crave sugar less or was it a "thank goodness" moment when you finally had it?! : )

Juliana Levine said...

These trifles look so good Beth, I love all the layers of it...and they are so elegant...
Hope you are having a great week :)

Marcela said...

I am so glad you made it through Lent! It looks scrumptious!
Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Daniela Grimburg said...

Wow, Beth, I admire your willpower and what a sweet Easter celebration with these mini carrot cake trifles.
Well deserved, my dear and Happy Easter!

Kathy said...

I really don’t have great self control…glad you were able to make it through Lent! Your Carrot Cake Trifles sound luscious! Something worth waiting for! Have a great weekend, Beth!

Pachecopatty said...

I can see why you couldn't wait to make these treats, they are such a unique dessert!
Happy Springtime Beth ;)

I Wilkerson said...

I can't believe I've never done a trifle! Using carrot cake sounds delicious!

Caroline Taylor said...

Carrot cake trifle sounds like the best invention ever!

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