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Recipe for chocolate-Champagne trifle with passion fruit curd

This Jan. 13, 2014 photo shows chocolate champagne trifle with passionfruit curd in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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This Jan. 13, 2014 photo shows chocolate champagne trifle with passionfruit curd in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Passion fruit, chocolate and Champagne. Could there be three ingredients better suited for a holiday built around love?

There are several components to this dessert, but none of them is difficult and they combine to form a most impressive and decadent dessert. Passion fruit puree generally is found in the freezer section of your grocer, often alongside the Hispanic ingredients.

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CHOCOLATE-CHAMPAGNE TRIFLE WITH PASSION FRUIT CURD

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 4

For the chocolate cake:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup coffee

2 eggs

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Pinch of salt

For the passion fruit curd:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 eggs

1/2 cup passion fruit puree

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pinch of salt

For the Champagne cream:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup Champagne (or other sparkling wine)

1/2 cup heavy cream

Fresh berries, to garnish

First, make the chocolate cake. Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray, then line the bottom with kitchen parchment.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Stir in the coffee until smooth and glossy.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, cocoa, brown sugar and salt. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until slightly puffed and no longer loose at the centre. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the passion fruit curd.

In a clean small saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add the passion fruit puree and beat again until smooth. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

To make the Champagne cream, set up a double boiler with 1 inch of water in the bottom pan. If you don't have a double boiler, fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water, then set a large bowl over it.

In the top of the boiler or in the bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until smooth. Add the Champagne and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk until the mixture is light in colour and has thickened to a soft, foamy cream, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold the cream into the Champagne cream.

To assemble the trifle, cut the cooled chocolate cake into small cubes.

In parfait glasses, layer cubes of chocolate cake, passion fruit curd and Champagne cream, repeating the layers until the glasses are filled. Garnish with fresh berries. Enjoy immediately or cover and chill for up to 8 hours.

Nutrition information per serving: 1,048 calories; 558 calories from fat (53 per cent of total calories); 62 g fat (33 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 462 mg cholesterol; 111 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 94 g sugar; 13 g protein; 136 mg sodium.

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