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White Chocolate Trifle with Strawberries and Pineapple

White chocolate has a buttery taste with subtle hints of vanilla. In this simple trifle, its richness strikes a delicious balance with the tart acidity of fresh fruit and the bite of dark rum. A sprinkling of toasted coconut adds nuttiness and a crisp yet chewy texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. white chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 1/3 cup spiced dark rum
  • 35 to 50 crisp ladyfingers, depending on size (about 7 oz. total)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

Directions:

Put the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup of the cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate the chocolate mixture, stirring it every 10 minutes, until cooled but not firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup cream, the vanilla and 3 Tbs. of the sugar. Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Whisk the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate. (If the chocolate is too stiff, let it soften at room temperature before mixing in the whipped cream.) Set aside.

Finely grate the zest from the lime, then squeeze the juice. In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the lime zest, lime juice, ginger, water and the remaining 2 Tbs. sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes, then continue to simmer until bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, combine the pineapple and strawberries. Measure 3 Tbs. of the ginger-lime syrup into a small bowl, add the rum and stir to combine. Pour the remaining syrup over the fruit and stir well.

Arrange a layer of ladyfingers in the bottom of a 3 1/2- to 4-quart straight-sided glass bowl, breaking up the cookies as needed to fill any gaps. Brush the ladyfingers with rum syrup until soaked through but not falling apart. Spoon half of the fruit mixture over the ladyfingers and cover with half of the white chocolate cream. Repeat with one more layer each of ladyfingers, syrup, fruit and white chocolate cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the trifle for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the trifle with the toasted coconut. Use a large spoon to scoop portions of the trifle onto small plates. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).