Sherry trifle

Dessert: serves 6-8. Total time: 1 hour, plus 2 hours chilling
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Serves 6-8, total time: 1 hour, plus 2 hours chilling

Like the best trifles, this one contains just that little bit too much alcohol, and takes life quite seriously in a creamy, 18th-century sort of way, with layers of both syllabub and custard.

125g trifle sponges
125ml medium dry sherry
50ml brandy
75g amaretti or macaroons
125g peach or apricot jam
1 passion fruit


3 medium organic egg yolks
50g icing sugar, sifted
50g flour
425ml milk


juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
125ml sweet wine
2tbsp brandy
50g icing sugar
300ml double cream

Arrange the trifle sponges on the base of a 20cm glass dish. Combine the sherry and the 50ml of brandy, and splash all but a few tablespoons over them. To make the custard, whisk the egg yolks and icing sugar in a bowl until pale in colour. Whisk in the flour in three lots. Bring the milk to the boil, gradually whisk it on to the egg and sugar mixture, and return it to the pan. Cook over the lowest heat, stirring constantly until it thickens into a custard, without allowing it to boil. If it appears at all lumpy, give it a quick whisk. Taste to check that it no longer tastes floury; if it does, give it a minute or two longer. Pass the custard through a sieve over the trifle sponges, cover with clingfilm. Leave to cool and set.

Crumble the macaroons into a bowl and sprinkle over the remaining sherry and brandy. Place the jam in a bowl and work it with a spoon until it is smooth, then spread it over the custard. Scatter over the macaroons. To make the syllabub, whisk the orange juice and zest with the sweet wine, brandy and icing sugar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the cream, and continue until you have a light and fluffy syllabub. I use a hand-held electric whisk for this. Be careful to stop once it forms cloudy peaks - if you overwhisk, it can separate. Pour it over the trifle and smooth the surface. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to set for at least a couple of hours. To serve, halve the passion fruit and spoon the seeds over the surface.