Found Recipes
3:51 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Taste Of Summer Finalist: Strawberry Trifle

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Susan Jones has no shame in admitting that she's not the world's best cook.

"Whenever someone says, 'Everybody bring a dish,' I'm not happy," she says.

Jones is from Indiana and is the editor and publisher of the New Carlisle News. She's also been a board member of Historic New Carlisle, her town's historical society, for 20 years. For the first five years, the group's bimonthly fundraiser teas were a point of anxiety for Jones.

"We fill our dining room table with wonderful treats that everyone makes — savory finger sandwiches, gorgeous little to-die-for cookies," she says. "And for years, I would show up with this plate of little hard cookies or dry brownies — something that would always be left over after the tea. It was humiliating."

Then one windy day, everything changed. She was taking her dog Wally for a walk on a country road when she noticed papers flying all over the place. She started picking up some of the pages.

"They were recipes. Somebody had cleaned out their kitchen and maybe put them on their computer and dumped them in the recycling," she says.

A recipe for strawberry trifle caught her eye. "It looked like it would be fancy and it would be delicious, and I could actually do it," she says.

It turned out to be incredibly easy. In a large glass dish, you layer angel food cake squares with strawberries and a whipped cream mixture. After a few layers, you top it off with more whipped cream, three whole strawberries and a few fresh mint leaves. "[It's] a gorgeous dessert," she says.

Jones took the trifle to the next historical society fundraiser — and found herself with a new "go-to" recipe for her "bring a dish dilemma."

"My dream after every tea was to walk to my car with an empty dish," she says. "I made my first trifle [and] took it to the tea. It was a hit, and it brought me the credibility I longed for among the best cooks in New Carlisle."


Recipe: Strawberry Trifle

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

12 ounces whipped cream or Cool Whip

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 angel food cake

3 quarts fresh strawberries

1/4 cup sugar

Fresh mint

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy. Add whipped cream and vanilla. Cut angel food cake into small squares. Slice all but 3 or 4 strawberries. Gently mix sliced berries in bowl with 1/4 cup sugar; let sit for 15 minutes. Cover the bottom of a large trifle dish (clear, stemmed bowl) with a layer of the cake squares. Follow with a layer of cream cheese mixture, then strawberries. Alternate, ending with the cream cheese mixture on top. Garnish with reserved whole strawberries and mint leaves. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Last week, we gave you a sneak peek online at the three finalists in our Taste of Summer contest. Well, now, here's our first contestant with the story behind her recipe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Meet Susan Jones. She hales from New Carlisle, Indiana, where she's the editor and publisher of the New Carlisle News. And here's what she is not.

SUSAN JONES: I'm not a good cook. So whenever someone says everybody bring a dish, I'm not happy. Susan Jones is also a longtime board member of her town's historical society. And her Taste of Summer story has to do with her bring-a-dish anxiety.

The biggest fundraiser we do is a bimonthly tea. We fill our dining room table with wonderful treats that everyone makes - savory finger sandwiches, gorgeous, little, to-die-for cookies. And for years, I would show up with this plate of little hard cookies or dry brownies - something that would always be left over at the end of the tea. It was humiliating.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONES: Then there was the day when everything changed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONES: About 15 years ago, my little dog Wally and I were taking our morning walk on our country road. It was very windy, and it was recycling day. I realized all of a sudden that there were papers all over the road flying in the air, and I started picking them up and looking at them. They were recipes. Somebody had cleaned out their kitchen and maybe put them on their computer and dumped them in the recycling. And the strawberry trifle recipe caught my eye. And it looked like it would be fancy, and it would be delicious, and that I could actually do it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONES: We make it in a clear glass bowl, a trifle bowl, and you layer angel fruitcake squares and then strawberries, which had been mixed in with a little bit of sugar and are nice and juicy, then a whipped cream mixture on top of the strawberries, whipped cream, powdered sugar and cream cheese, then another layer, cake, berries, whipped cream, another layer of cake, berries, whipped cream. And on top, you'd put three beautiful strawberries and some perfect mint leaves, and you have a gorgeous dessert.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONES: My dream after every tea was to walk to my car with an empty dish. And I made my first trifle, I took it to the tea. It was a hit. And this recipe, it's so easy to make, and it has brought me the credibility I longed for among the best cooks in New Carlisle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: That's listener Susan Jones, our first finalist in the Taste of Summer contest with her entry, strawberry trifle. We'll hear from another finalist tomorrow. In the meantime, if you can't wait, you can read all their stories at our Found Recipes page at npr.org. And while you're there, you be the judge. Let us know which story you think should be the winner and why.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.