A super trifle

Dessert: Serves 4
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about a dozen small pieces of good sponge-cake
4 Italian amaretti biscuits, each broken into small bits
4tbsp of Marsala, or 2tbsp of Marsala and 2tbsp of Amaretto liqueur - depending on how boozy you wish the trifle to be
2-3tbsp excellent quality jam, well stirred to loosen is home-made strawberry, but the Tiptree brand known as "Little Scarlet" is a very good second best)
For the custard
250ml milk
1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthways
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1tsp potato flour, preferably, or, failing that, cornflour
250ml double cream
1tbsp caster sugar
angelica and silver balls for decoration

Take your four most attractive (glass, if possible) individual serving dishes and distribute the sponge cake and amaretti biscuits in the base of each. Douse liberally with the chosen alcohols and then set aside to allow these to soak in. Carefully spoon over some jam -- not too much -- and allow it to settle among the sponge and biscuits. Place in the fridge. Meanwhile, make the custard, by heating the milk together with the vanilla pod in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remove from the stove and whisk for a few seconds to release the vanilla seeds into the milk. Briefly beat together the egg yolks, sugar and potato flour/cornflour and then strain over the hot milk, whisking as you go. Return to the saucepan and cook over a very low heat (with a heat-diffuser pad if possible) until thickened. Once you think it is ready, give it a final vigorous whisk to fully amalgamate. Remove the dishes from the fridge and pour the custard over the soaked sponge cake and amaretti biscuit, carefully dividing it between each dish, while also remembering to leave room for a final topping of (whipped) cream. Return the dishes to the fridge for at least 30-40 minutes, or until the custard has clearly set.

Whip the cream with the sugar until just thick and then spoon it on to the custard, making a simple, fork-dragged decoration if you so wish. Embellish with tiny slivers of angelica and a few silver balls. Chill well again before serving.

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