Capital Chefs: Mallory Staley of 1789 (Part 2)

 Photo courtesy of
‘Rhubarb Shortcake Trifle at 1789’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

One of the things Mallory and I both geeked out over when we spoke was the fact that the arrival of Spring means a ton of fresh fruit to cook with. Right now, rhubarb is coming into season and her recipe for rhubarb shortcake trifles is fantastic.

For a long time I had no idea what a trifle was–an easy to assemble dessert that has layers of fruit, cake and custard. It’s a dessert you can either dress up or dress it down, depending on the occassion and how fancy you want to get. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you have to prepare three separate parts to make the whole dessert. Serve this up in a clear glass bowl and let all your friends marvel over your impressive handiwork.

See the recipe after the jump.

Photo courtesy of
‘Mallory Staley of 1789’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Rhubarb Shortcake trifles (serves 4-6)

Shortcake Ingredients and Instructions:
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ sticks (6oz) butter
1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Place the dry’s ingredients in a bowl and using the paddle attachment of a mixer or a fork, mix in the butter until it looks like small peas. Add in 1 ½ cups cream and mix until a dough is formed. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds (author’s note: that means circles, for my non-cooks). Brush with the remaining cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown, about 12 to 18 minutes.

Rhubarb compote:
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar

Place into a pot and cook down until tender, cool.

Pastry cream:
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 table spoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon cornstarch
½ stick (2 tablespoons) softened butter

Place the milk in a pot. Bring to a boil and add the vanilla. Whisk together the yolks, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the egg/sugar mixture, whisking quickly. Pour all that back into the pot with the remaining milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Chill.

To serve:
Cut up shortcakes into bite size squares. In a glass dish, layer the compote, shortcakes, and pastry cream. Garnish with whip cream and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of
‘Rhubarb Shortcake Trifle at 1789’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Marissa was born and bred in New Jersey, but moved to DC for undergrad at GWU (Go Colonials, go!), fell in love with the District and learned that there was life and civilization beyond New York City. She loves eating at white-tablecloth-three-forks-at-your-place-setting restaurants, but she’ll also be the first to suggest we scarf down some chili dogs at 2 am. Simply put, she loves all things food. You can also read about why she loves DC. Follow her on Twitter and email her at mbialecki (at)

One thought on “Capital Chefs: Mallory Staley of 1789 (Part 2)

  1. The French do a similar thing called a verrine– it’s like a trifle or parfait but in a small single-serving glass. Maybe slightly larger than a shot glass. It’s the perfect thing to serve after dinner so guests get a taste of something sweet and pretty without having to stuff themselves. You can also do them savory as appetizers.