Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Little Things 2

Little. Tiny. Minute. Miniscule. Small. They all mean the same thing - not big. Not huge, gigantic, enormous.

Little things mean spending a little extra time. Going the extra mile. Staying up a few minutes later to finish. Getting up a little bit earlier to get it all done. Maybe not getting something you wanted so you can give something to someone else. Baking a cake instead of buying one from the local bakery.

I believe that if we will forget the big things for a while, concentrate on the little stuff, that the big things will not seem so important after a while. I have always had a dream of travelling to Europe. A big dream and I still have that dream. But I know that it will not be possible until I get some bills paid. (unless I have a rich relative somewhere that I don't know about!) But instead of bemoaning the fact that I can't go for a while, I am enjoying the simple pleasures, the little ones that don't cost. Watching the humming birds zip past. A cup of tea in the afternoon. Snuggling with my kitty. A library book.

I really think a lot of the pleasure that we get out of simple things is all in a mindset. You have to let yourself enjoy those things. Not take them for granted, or count them as nothing because they are not what you ultimately want. Still have dreams, yes, but do not let your dreams get in the way of enjoying every day life!

Now to trifles. I think what makes the trifle is the custard. Not too sweet, smooth, creamy, delicately flavored. So without further ado, I am giving you this practically fail-proof recipe for custard.

Trifle Custard
Makes 4 cups

2 cups whole milk (or as I used 1 cup 2% milk and 1 cup half and half)
2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
6 ounces granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Put milk and cream in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch until smooth and pale. SLOWLY pour the hot milk/cream over the egg yolks, whisking all the time to temper the eggs. Return the mix to the saucepan, then cook over a gentle heat, whisking or stirring with a spoon until it thickens sufficiently to coat the back of your spoon. DO NOT BOIL. This does not get quite as thick as regular pudding. Pass through a fine sieve and refrigerate. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the pudding all around. Then cover with another sheet over that. Best to make this the night before. Now, for the best flavor, stir in your vanilla extract after sieving, while it is still warm. Add rum extract just before using, after cooling overnight.

Pour custard over top of fruit in trifle bowl.

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Refrigerate.

Whipped cream

1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 1/4 cup sugar, superfine

Place cream in bowl. Add extract. Beat with electric mixer until frothy, then gradually add sugar in, beating all the while. Beat until fairly firm.

Cover top of trifle with whipped cream. You can decorate the top with whatever you like, I did not decorate mine this time.

Also, I did not manage to get a picture before the hungry horde at my house had devoured most of it!!

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This was greatly enjoyed by everyone. So get out today, enjoy some little things!

4 comments:

Jan said...

Great looking custard! Mmmmm

Angie said...

Heaven, I'm in heaven...........just pass me a spoon!
Love, Angie, xx

Sue said...

Looks very nice. Yum!

nicisme said...

I love, LOVE trifle!! It's one of my favourites!