Raspberry Trifle

Using sherry, an under-appreciated spirit.

A tasting of sherries, by michalo, on Flickr (CC license) (Click to expand identifying info...)
From left to right:

  • Manzanilla “Papirusa” from Emilio Lustau
  • Fino “Pavon” from Luis Caballero
  • Amontillado “Principe” from Antonio Barbadillo
  • Palo Cortado “Obispo Gascón” from Antonio Barbadillo
  • Oloroso “Don Nuño” from Emilio Lustau

Sherry is a fortified wine, which means a wine to which brandy has been added during fermentation–that much, you probably already knew. But what not as many people know is how sherry differs from port and what the culinary significance of that distinction is. Adding to the confusion is that the category of sherry includes a diversity of sweetness and colors, ranging from white to darker and even syrupy dessert wines.

In sherry, which should be from the South of Spain, grapes are completely fermented–meaning there is no residual sugar left, only alcohol–and then fortified with brandy. So sherries start out as very dry, and whatever sweetness they possess has been added after the fermentation. We’ll have to talk in more depth about flor later, but in essence, sometimes a foamy layer of bacteria is permitted to grow inside the casks to protect the wine from the air in the cask, preserving different colors and flavors. This is especially true of white, dry sherry. In some of the richer sherries, the flor is killed off by the fortification, and the result is a sweet sherry that’s called a cream sherry for its texture, despite the lack of any dairy products.

In port, which should be from Portugal, the fermentation is actually stopped by the fortification. The result is that all ports are sweet, although some may be sweeter than others.

From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Raspberry Trifle

12 ladyfingers
Raspberry jelly
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c. heavy cream

Spread ladyfingers with jelly. put together and arrange around straight-side bowl. Sprinkle ladyfingers with sherry. Beat milk, pudding, vanilla, sugar together. Add whipped cream.

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