Recipe by Chef Sean Wight, owner of Frog Hollow Hospitality Group, Augusta, Georgia
For the crème anglaise
1½ cups milk
1½ cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
7 large egg yolks
8 tablespoons sugar
1 ounce Grand Marnier
For the shortcake
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 cup milk
For the berries
2 pounds ripe strawberries
¼ cup sugar (less depending on sweetness of the berries)
8-10 ounces Grand Marnier
Make crème anglaise: Combine milk and cream in a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Scrape vanilla beans into cream and then add scraped beans to the pot. Bring milk mixture to a simmer. Stir a few times, being careful not to let it boil over. Remove cream from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together yolks, sugar, and Grand Marnier. Carefully and slowly whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Pour combined mixture back into saucepan. Stir over low heat until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 to 6 minutes. Strain thickened custard through a fine mesh sieve into bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on top of custard (to prevent skin from forming) and chill. Will last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Make the shortcake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. In bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour mixture with butter and mix until crumbly. Add milk and mix gently. Don’t overmix. Once dough comes together, turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead, folding dough into itself until almost smooth. Roll out dough to ¾-inch thick and cut out with round biscuit cutter slightly smaller than the mouth of the mason jars being used. Place rounds onto greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Prep strawberries while shortcake bakes. When done, remove from oven and let cool.
Make the strawberries: Rinse berries and pat dry. Remove hulls and slice. Place sliced berries into a bowl and toss gently with sugar and Grand Marnier. Macerate for an hour or so at room temperature, tossing occasionally.
To assemble trifle: Slice shortcake rounds into three layers each. In 10 ounce, wide-mouth Mason jar, layer with shortcake, followed by crème anglaise, then macerated strawberries. Repeat one more time.
You can stop here and refrigerate if making ahead of time. To finish, top with a spoonful of crème anglaise and crumble the final slice of shortcake for garnish.