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Is this what you had in mind?

1. I made a bezier-shape with 8 points (4 corners and 2 for each end of the trough).

2. Copied it and erased the 4 corners points to isolate the trough.

3. Reversed the directions of the gradient fills for the original shape and the new trough.

4. Moved the trough over the original shape (and added a rectangle in front to make it look like a box).

It's not photo-realistic, but it's relatively quick.