I took my kids to England years ago and they came away with a love for the English Trifle, which for those of you that are unfamiliar, is possibly one of England's best desserts. They also came away with a very exaggerated English accent compounded by the Harry Potter movies- but that's a whole other blog! I take liberties when I make this dessert. I use any berries I have and add in pineapple or mango, grapes or orange segments- whatever takes my fancy and it all works out well. The key to a good Trifle is the custard- unfortunately there are no shortcuts and it takes practise to make a really creamy custard. Even mine can curdle or turn lumpy if I don't pay attention. The best way is to keep all the ingredients and equipment ready and keep your eye on it ALWAYS till it is done.
Recipe for an English Trifle:
1/2 a pound cake cut into fingers
assorted berries- strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
mango, grapes, pineapple, orange segments, peaches or nectarines (optional)
2-3 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp sugar
whipped cream ( slightly sweetened)
slivered almonds toasted lightly
For the custard:
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. To make the custard- whip the egg yolks with the sugar and the cornstarch until creamy. Scald the cream briefly in a pan and add it to the egg mixture a little at a time to prevent it from curdling. Return all of the mixture to the pot and cook over low heat, whisking constantly till it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour into a clean bowl and mix in the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly over the custard to prevent a skin forming. Chill before using.
2. Mix the berries with the sherry and the sugar and allow it to sit for a while. Meanwhile arrange half the cake in the bottom of a large serving bowl .
3. Spoon some of the berries over the cake and pour half the custard over it. Repeat the layers ending with the custard and finish with dollops of whipped cream and toasted almonds.