Melissa Clark's Brownie Raspberry Trifle-Famous Fridays
Melissa Clark's Brownie Raspberry Trifle-Famous Fridays

Rich chocolate brownies!

Creamy dreamy chocolate pudding!

Cocoa infused whipped cream!

Chopped bittersweet chocolate!

Juicy fresh raspberries!

Does life get any better?!! As the year draws to a close, this is one Famous Fridays you do not want to miss because today we not only celebrate this spectacular and gorgeous Brownie Raspberry Trifle but also it's creator, renowned NY Times columnist and cookbook author, Melissa Clark! I'm head over heels, guys!!

If you're not familiar with "A Good Appetite", the column Melissa writes for The Times, you can go here and take a look at some of her past offerings. Not only does she write about food in a down-to-earth accessible manner, but her recipes are interesting, innovative and totally manageable for the home-cook. And this woman is prolific too, with 32 cookbooks to her name, many of them in collaboration with famed chefs like Daniel Boulud, David Bouley and White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, to name a few! I've been following her for years and have clipped out and cooked quite a few of her recipes but have been waiting for just the right time (about 8 years in fact, but who's counting--I do have a few issues with procrastination) to try out this jaw-dropping trifle because it seemed intimidating, but in fact for such an impressive-looking dessert, it's one of the easiest I've ever made. Last week it made its debut at a family party and the echoes of the oohs and aahs are still ringing in my ears!

If you're looking for a WOW dessert for the holidays, I really don't think you can go wrong with this. Other than the amazing look and taste, which is not nothing folks, there's the fact that practically all the components of this can be made ahead of time and only need to be assembled a few hours or the night before you're ready to serve this baby. If you're throwing a Christmas or New Year's Party this trifle = less stress!

You start by making a pan of deeply chocolate-y rich brownies, which you can do up to 5 days ahead of time.

Next you prepare the ultra-chocolate-y chocolate pudding which can also be made several days in advance.

Right before you're ready to assemble this masterpiece, you whip up the cocoa whipped cream.

Now the fun begins--you cut the brownies up into little cubes and place a layer of them on the bottom of the glass dish.

Next you cover them with a layer of pudding.

Then a layer of whipped cream topped with chopped bittersweet chocolate--

And finally a layer of raspberries.

Then you repeat the entire process, until all of the ingredients have been used up. You can serve it right away or cover it and serve it the next day, which makes it the ideal party dessert. Plus it's so visually stunning!

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And so yummy! With every bite, you get every layer, every texture and flavor combination and while this is fairly rich and dense, the bittersweet chocolate and the raspberries keep it from being too sweet. It's a show-stopping crowd pleaser and you'll be the hit of the party!

So now that your holiday dessert worries are over, enjoy the weekend! Take a look at some of Melissa's fantastic recipes, cook up something yummy for your family and friends and enjoy one of the last weekends of 2015!! I'll be back on Monday with more tasty treats for the holiday season and beyond!

Melissa Clark's Brownie Raspberry Trifle-Famous Fridays

Makes 10-12 servings
Prep Time for Brownies:  15 minutes; Bake Time:  25 minutes; Prep Time for Pudding:  25 minutes (plus several hours of chilling); Assembly Time for Trifle:  20 minutes
This is an amazing make-ahead party dish. You will need a 4-quart trifle or other see-through glass bowl. The brownies can be made up to 5 days ahead and left uncut and covered. The pudding can be made 3 days ahead and kept chilled. The rest of everything can be assembled the day before or early in the day you're planning to serve this, leaving you with an totally hassle-free and awe-inspiring dessert!


For the Brownies

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several chunks
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (sift if lumpy)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cup whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cocoa Whipped Cream

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

For the Trifle Assembly

  • 5 ounces (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries

The Recipe

1.  To make the Brownies:  Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.

2.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until it's fully melted. Add the cocoa and sugar and mix well. Gradually whisk in the beaten eggs and then whisk in the vanilla. Fold in the flour and salt and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and and bake for 25 minutes, until just firm. You don't want to over-bake these. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. 

3.  Brownies can be made up to 5 days ahead and left uncut and covered in the refrigerator.

4.  To make the Pudding:  Using a whisk, mix together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in 3/4 cup of the milk,

5.  In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 1 cup of milk and the heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Constantly whisking, add the hot milk mixture to the cocoa mixture in the bowl. Then pour the entire thing back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until slightly thickened, whisking gently. Don't let the mixture come to a boil. Adjust the heat accordingly.

6.  Whisk the egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl. Then, whisking constantly, slowly pour about half the cocoa-milk mixture into the eggs to temper them. Then pour the entire contents of the bowl into the saucepan with the other half of the cocoa-milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Try not to let the mixture simmer. You may need to lower the heat if it starts to. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.

7.  Meanwhile melt the 1 cup chopped chocolate with the butter in a small saucepan. Stir well until completely smooth. Add in the vanilla and combine well. Cool for 5 minutes and then fold into thickened pudding mixture, until butter/chocolate mixture is completely combined into the pudding. Transfer to a large bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

8.  When you're ready to assemble the trifle, make the Cocoa Whipped Cream. Using an electric mixer, beat together the 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, the 5 tablespoons of cocoa and the confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Scrape down the sides as necessary and fold any excess cocoa into the cream. Set aside.

9.  Cut the brownies into 1-inch squares. Place a layer of the brownies in the bottom of a 4-quart trifle or glass bowl. Top with 1/3 of the pudding and spread out evenly using a spoon or small spatula. Top with 1/3 of the whipped cream and spread out evenly using a different spoon or spatula so as to keep the layers as distinct as possible. Scatter 1/3 of the chopped chocolate on top and then 1/3 of the raspberries. Repeat two more times layering all of the ingredients in the same order and finishing with the chopped chocolate and raspberries arranged on top with the pointed ends up for a pretty decoration. You can either serve this immediately or cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and chill for up to 24 hours.


Note:  Recipe adapted from A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark via the NY TImes

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