Strawberry and white port trifle

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Trifle normally conjures up memories of a splash of old sherry that's been hanging around in the drinks cabinet for ages. Now that I've got the white port bug, though, a good old-fashioned trifle seemed an obvious choice.

150g strawberries

50g sponge cake

100ml white port

For the jelly

100-120g strawberries, chopped
200ml water
200ml white port
100g caster sugar
6g leaf gelatine (2 sheets)

For the custard

Half a vanilla pod
300ml double cream
5 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
2tsp cornflour

For the topping

50-60g strawberries
250ml Jersey cream
60g caster sugar
20-30g almonds toasted with 1tsp sugar or crushed macaroons, to serve

For the jelly, bring the water, strawberries and sugar to the boil and simmer gently for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a minute or so until soft, squeeze out the water and stir into the strawberry mixture till dissolved, strain through a fine sieve and leave to cool a little, then add the white port.

Break the sponge into pieces and put into 4 individual glass serving dishes or 1 large one and pour over the white port. Slice the strawberries and put them on top of the soaked sponge; pour over the cooled, but not set, jelly so it just covers the strawberries. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Meanwhile, make the custard. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the point of a knife. Put the double cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together. Take out the vanilla pod and pour the cream on to the egg mixture and mix well with a whisk.

Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens. (Don't let it boil!) Remove from the heat and give it a final mix with a whisk. Transfer to a bowl, lay a sheet of clingfilm over the surface of the custard to prevent it forming a skin and leave it to cool for about 30 minutes. Once the jelly has set, spoon over the custard then leave to set for half an hour or so.

Now prepare the topping. Blend the strawberries in a liquidiser until smooth. Put the double cream and sugar into a bowl and carefully whisk until fairly firm, then leave in the fridge until the custard has set. Gently fold the strawberry purée into the whisked cream to form a ripple effect. Spoon the mixture on top of the trifle and decorate with the almonds toasted with a little sugar in the oven (watch them like a hawk or they'll burn) or use crushed macaroons instead.

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