Chai Spice Trifle with Mixed Berries
Yield: 24 large servings
For the Pound Cake
  • 1 Buttery Pound Cake (page 93) without the Salty Caramel Glaze, made 1 day ahead, or 1 store-bought pound cake
For the Chai Spice Mix
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
For the Chai Pastry Cream
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Chai Spice Mix (recipe above)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups (960 ml) whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
For the Rum Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
For the Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Assembly
  • 4 cups (500 g) fresh raspberries (or frozen, see Baked Note)
  • 2 cups (290 g) fresh blackberries (or frozen, see Baked Note)
Make the Chai Spice Mix
  1. Place the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, white pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Make the Chai Pastry Cream
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar, the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of the Chai Spice Mix, and the salt until the mixture is thick and smooth. (The flavors of the spices will lose some pungency once incorporated fully into the other pastry cream ingredients; for a stronger flavor, add all of the spice mix.)
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk and the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue stirring slowly until the mixture boils. Remove the pan from the heat, and slowly pour a scant third of the liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer the tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture, still whisking constantly, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the butter, rum, cream, and vanilla. Let the pastry cream cool for about 15 minutes, hen cover the top with plastic wrap (pressing the plastic directly onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate until firm, about 5 hours or overnight.
Make the Rum Syrup
  1. On the day of the trifle’s assembly, in your smallest saucepan, stir together 2 tablespoons water and the sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Add the rum, whisk to combine, and set aside.
Make the Whipped Cream
  1. Immediately before putting the trifle together, place a metal bowl and whisk or, if you prefer, the bowl of a standing mixer and the whisk attachment into the freezer to chill for a few minutes.
  2. Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the whisk for about 1 minute, until the cream begins to thicken (alternatively, beat on medium-high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment). Add the vanilla and keep whipping until medium-firm peaks form. Set aside.
Assemble the Trifle
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the berries together with your hands.
  2. Cut the pound cake into twelve approximately ¾-inch (2-cm) slices, discarding the ends. The skinnier the slice, the better the absorption. Cover the bottom of a 2- or 2½-quart (2- or 2.4-L) trifle dish with approximately 4 slices in a single layer, cutting as needed to fill in the gaps. Brush the rum syrup on top of the cake—be generous with it, as you want the syrup to soften the cake. Scatter about one-third of the mixed berries over the rum-soaked cake. Stir the pastry cream to loosen. Place a heaping 1½ cups (360 ml) of pastry cream over the berries and use an offset spatula to spread into an even layer. Cover the pastry cream with a heaping 1½ cups (360 ml) of whipped cream. Spread into an even layer. Repeat these layers two more times, ending with a glorious, oversize mound of whipped cream.
  3. Refrigerate the trifle for at least 2 hours, and up to 6 hours. Before serving, garnish with a few berries and a sprinkling of leftover Chai Spice Mix, if you have any.
How to store: Leftover trifle can be kept, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, though the optimum eating time is usually within 24 hours.
Recipe by Baked Sunday Mornings at