It has been far too long since I have brought something to our weekly church coffee hour besides greedy eyes and empty bellies. This week Mr. Flavius asked if we could make something to end the shuffle o'shame (self-inflicted since no one knows who brings what). I generally have tried to make main courses, but due to financial constraints I was forced to think outside of the box.
Which oddly enough, led me to a box, several boxes actually, and a few cans as well. Apparently when people look for thrifty potluck recipes it lands them smack dab in the middle of processed food from a box territory. And while that is fine, I just do not feel like that $1 package of Cool Whip and 99¢ package of vanilla pudding are really saving me all that much money and are shorting me on quality for sure. On the other hand, store bought Angel Food Cake is totally worth my money, because 1) I do not possess the proper pan and 2) I am looking to maximize my easy moments these days.
I substituted Italian pastry cream (which you could substitut your favorite homemade vanilla pudding recipe, but this is one I make often) for the instant pudding and whipped cream for the tubs of Cool Whip. What I ended up with was a lovely, thrifty sweet potlucky treat. I hope you will try it.
Italian Pastry Cream
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
6 tbsp. AP flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. of milk
1 tbsp of your desired flavoring (as fancy or not fancy as you like: vanilla, cognac, rum, orange liqueur, brandy, Soho, Kahlua ...)
a pinch of salt
Reserving the flavoring and 1/2 cup of milk, place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously or use a stick blender, until the yolk and flour have completely combined. With a whisk or a silicon spatula, stir frequently, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent the custard from scorching. When the custard begins too thicken noticeable, remove from heat and stir vigorously (I use the stick blender here as well). When it looks like a pot of thick pudding, your done! Feel free to return to heat as necessary to continue thickening the custard. Slow and steady is far better than quick and scorched.
When your custard is ready, strain through a fine mesh sieve and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the custard and leave it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. The plastic will prevent a skin from forming on your custard. You can also sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on top, but I find it thins the custard over time.
**If you are in a hurry, chill over an ice bath (TIP!: add a goodly amount of salt to your ice water to speed up the process. It will cut your time by half).
1 pint of heavy cream
In the bowl of an stand mixture (or using an electric hand mixture), pour the cream. Using a whisk attachment, turn the mixture on low speed until bubble form on the surface of the cream. Slowly turn up the speed, a little bit at a time as you watch the volume of the air increase. When your cream has soft peaks and hills, turn off the mixer. Pay attention, because otherwise you'll have churned butter!
Angel Lush Cake
Time to Assemble: >15 minutes
1/2- 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple
1 recipe of pastry cream or 2 cups of vanilla pudding
3 cups of whipped cream
2 Angel Food Loaf Cakes- sliced 3/4" thick
1- 20 ounce can of mandarin oranges
1 box of raspberries
Fold the whipped cream and crushed pineapple into the custard. In a large 9x13 casserole, place slices of angel food cake in a single layer. Cover with half of the pineapple mixture. Add the second layer of angel food cake slices. Cover with remaining pineapple mixture. Top with mandarin slices and raspberries (or any fruit of your choosing, peach or apricot halves, pineapple rings, citrus suprêmes, lychees and kiwi, strawberries, instant espresso powder and cocoa. . .). Let your creative juices flow!
Sorry for no picture, I was running like a crazy woman this morning. I am making it again for my girls who missed out while they were at the Grands. I'll shoot away then.