The trifle needs to be done a day ahead.
For what it delivers, panna cotta deserves culinary sainthood. Ten minutes of your time and several hours in the fridge delivers a dessert that's made more than one cook's (and non-cook's) reputation. And not many sweets are this free-spirited.
This was improvised last Easter when my free Saturday night to bake Easter dessert was sidelined by a last minute party. So improvisation took over.
Bread and jam trifle came to mind, but panna cotta was so much easier. Spoon store-bought marmalade onto sponge cake slices and layered them with the gelled cream was the plan. When the marmalade tasted tooth achingly, some lemon juice got stirred in. The mix became more a sauce than a jam and deliciously tart/sweet, just what was needed to cut the richness of the panna cotta.
Tuck that one away for when you need a fast sauce, or a glaze on some ribs.
Cook to Cook: Use organic cream if possible, and check that the sour cream contains only cream and culture, no other additives.
For assembling the trifle:
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Copyright 2010 Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.