This luxurious trifle was inspired by a trip to Portugal to visit one of our wine suppliers, Quinta de La Rosa, who also produce fine white port. I'm not sure why sherry is traditionally used in a trifle, but having enjoyed white port as an apéritif in Portugal, I thought I'd use that instead. It worked a treat.
For the jelly
100-120g strawberries, hulled and chopped
100g caster sugar
6g leaf gelatine (2 sheets)
200ml white port
For the base
50g sponge cake
100ml white port
150g strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the custard
300ml double cream
5 free-range medium egg yolks
60g caster sugar
For the topping
250ml double cream
50-60g strawberries, hulled and sliced
20-30g flaked almonds, lightly toasted, or crushed macaroons
For the jelly, put the chopped strawberries, 200ml water and the sugar into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, cover the gelatine leaves with cold water and soak for a few minutes to soften. Take off the heat. Squeeze the gelatine to remove excess water, add to the strawberry mixture and stir until dissolved. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and leave to cool a little, then add the white port.
For the trifle base, break the sponge into pieces and arrange in a layer in the bottom of a glass serving bowl or 4 individual dishes. Sprinkle the port evenly over the sponge and lay the strawberries on top. Pour over the cooled (but not set) jelly so it just covers the strawberries and put in the fridge for an hour or so to set.
Meanwhile, make the custard. Pour the cream into a heavy-based saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds with a knife and add them to the cream with the empty pod. Slowly bring to the boil, then 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 mix, whisking well. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens; don't let it boil. Pour into a bowl, cover the surface with a sheet of greaseproof paper to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.
Once the jelly has set, spoon the cooled custard on top. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour or so until the custard has set.
For the topping, softly whip the cream, then spoon on top of the trifle. Decorate with the strawberry slices and toasted almonds or crushed macaroons.