Add Carla Hall’s Peaches and Cream Trifle to Your Must-Eat List Immediately
Ida Mae Astute/ABC
Carla Hall is looking at one busy summer.
The celebrity chef co-hosts ABC’s The Chew every weekday, is hosting the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards (considered the Oscars of food, which celebrates the country’s top culinary talent) in Chicago on May 2, and is opening her first New York City restaurant, Southern Kitchen, around Memorial Day.
And although this is her first brick-and-mortar business, the Brooklyn-based restaurant already has a familiar feel. “It’s very much about my home and the foods I grew up having in Nashville,” Hall tells PEOPLE of the comfort-style spot, which will focus on Nashville hot chicken.
It also focuses on family. “My grandmothers – Freddie Mae on my mom’s side and Thelma on my father’s – were definitely an influence even though I didn’t cook until much later. So many of my food memories and really all the food that I cook today comes from those two women. The restaurant isn’t just a love letter to my hometown, but it’s a love letter to my two grandmothers.”
Hall’s family also plays a part in Southern Kitchen’s decor. The restaurant’s chicken logo is named Thelma because “she made the best fried chicken,” says the chef, who also named the eatery’s interior shop (“where you can buy little things from Nashville and the south”), Freddie Mae.
The star, who splits her time between her home in Washington, D.C. (her primary residence with husband, Matthew) and New York City (where The Chew tapes), also included another very special feature inside the restaurant. After raising over $250,000 to help fund her eatery through a Kickstarter campaign, Hall felt like the people who supported her needed to be a part of the space as well.
“When you walked into my grandmother Freddie Mae’s house she had all the family photos on the wall, so because we did Kickstarter, we have people’s names on the wall,” Hall explains. “It was very emotional for me and those are people I can thank everyday for believing in me. It’s that belief that propels you forward … it’s just a community of believers so their names are on the wall in small, white frames, very similar to how it was in my grandmother’s house. People can come in and look for their name, which is awesome.”
While you wait for Hall’s 30-seat eatery to open, here is one of her seasonal desserts to hold you over.
Carla Hall’s Peach & Cream Trifle
3 refrigerated piecrusts, cut into 7-in. rounds
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. ground ginger
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1 cup peach preserves
4½ lbs. fresh peaches, sliced
2 tsp. lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1 tsp. almond extract
3 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 piecrust round on each baking sheet. Brush piecrusts with beaten egg, and sprinkle evenly with ginger, 1 tbsp. of granulated sugar and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Bake in oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely on wire racks.
2. Heat preserves in a large saucepan over medium heat until warm. Add peaches, zest, almond extract, remaining 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar and remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring often, until the fruit begins to break down but is still slightly chunky, about 40 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cool completely.
3. Place the cream in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beating on high until combined and soft peaks form.
4. Place 2 cups of peach mixture in a trifle dish. Top with 2 cups of whipped cream and 1 piecrust round. Repeat twice with peach mixture, whipped cream and piecrust. Top with remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with almonds and apricots.
Active time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
–Michelle Ward Trainor