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Trifle


I just love puddings. Treacle, Bakewell, Spotted Dick, Apple Crumble and Sticky Toffee, to name just a few of my favourites. But my all-time preference, now rarely seen on restaurant menus, is still the classical English Trifle. You will not find trifle in any weight-watchers programme. But for me - following an outstanding entree - one of the most  mouth-watering sights is to see a large, deep bowl filled to the brim with this delicious cream topped concoction heading in my direction on the dessert trolley.

It was invented before cream and alcohol became dirty words and the word trifle derives from the French word truffle and was served as a cold pudding sometime during the Renaissance - probably in the late Middle Ages. It is composed of a layer of sponge cake soaked in sherry, port or  brandy, then a layer of fruit, jelly, custard, cream, which may be decorated with more cream, nuts, fruit or chocolate.

I have personally tried and served today’s recipe to my guests and they would certainly recommend it.

Ingredients
serves 6
568 ml (1 pint) milk
3 vanilla pod
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 g) 1 oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
1 Victoria sandwich cake
175 g (6 oz) raspberry or strawberry jam
4 oz (100 g) macaroons, lightly crushed
scant 1/2 (us) cup (100 ml) medium sherry
1 1/4 cup (300 ml) 1/2 pint double cream (heavy cream)
1/2 cup (40 g) 1 1/2 oz flaked almonds, toasted and 2 oz (50 g) glace cherries to decorate

Method
1. Scald the milk with the vanilla pod. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

2. Beat together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar and strain on the milk. Cook over a gentle heat, without boiling, stirring all the time until the custard thickens slightly. Pour into a bowl; lightly sprinkle the surface with sugar and cool.

3. Spread the sponge cake with jam, cut up and place in a 2-litre (3 1/2 pint) shallow serving dish with the macaroons. Spoon over the sherry and leave for 2 hours. Pour over the cold custard.

4. Whip the cream until softly stiff. Top the custard with half the fresh cream. Pipe the remaining cream on top and decorate with the almonds and cherries.
 

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