In a bowl, combine the strawberries with the superfine or granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of the orange juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 3 hours.
In another bowl, toss the sliced bananas with the remaining 3 tablespoons orange juice. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
Cut each 3-inch piece of brownie in half horizontally. Place the bottom halves, cut side up, in the bottom of 6 individual glass dessert bowls. Arrange about 1/4 cup each of the bananas and strawberries over each brownie portion. Top with about 1/4 cup of the vanilla pudding. Arrange another brownie half over each pudding layer and repeat layering with the fruit, drizzling the fruit with any juices that remain in the bowls. Top with the pudding and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of cooled chocolate sauce over the top of each portion.
To make the sweetened whipped cream, in a large bowl, beat the cream until frothy and starting to thicken. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until thickened and soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whipped cream on top of each trifle and garnish with the sugared almond slices.
Refrigerate for up to 2 hours, or serve immediately.
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter and the chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and hot chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the flour and whisk to combine. Add 1 egg and whisk to combine. Add the remaining flour and egg and whisk to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into the prepared dish and tap the bottom to release any air bubbles. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting into 9 equal pieces.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) pan, 6 to 9 servings
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar, cornstarch, and salt and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until pale and frothy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisking to combine. Add the egg mixture to the hot milk mixture and return to the heat. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
Transfer to a clean container and press plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours or overnight, before serving.
Yield: 4 cups, 4 to 6 servings
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a bare simmer over low heat.
Place the chocolate pieces in a medium bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and thickens.
Let the sauce cool to room temperature before serving.