Califonia Bountiful

Strawberries and cream trifle with sour ale and fresh tarragon

Fresh strawberries lend a brightness and natural sweetness to desserts, but with Anastashia Chavez in the kitchen, unlikely ingredient pairings add surprising pops of flavor. Here, the Ventura-based chef infuses a traditional English trifle with fresh tarragon and sour ale, paying tribute to her Italian training and love of craft beer.

Chef Anastashia Chavez
The 2686 Kitchen, Ventura

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1 (9-by-5-inch) sponge cake, homemade or store-bought

Strawberry tarragon jam
2 lb. fresh strawberries, chopped
5 cups fine sugar
Zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons
1 cup sour ale
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Chantilly cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Zest of 2 lemons


For jam: Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 221 degrees. Remove from heat. Refrigerate overnight or up to 2 weeks.

For cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip all ingredients until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: Cut sponge cake into 3/4-inch slices. In 8-oz. tumblers, alternate layers of jam, sponge cake and Chantilly cream. Serve chilled. Trifles are best eaten within an hour of assembly, but can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

Serves 6

Photo: © 2019 Tony Pinto

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