Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Trifle (for Dogpossum)

Please note: this recipe contains no jelly, no port, no sherry, no tinned fruit and no bought cake.

Dogpossum has asked on a comments thread about trifle, so I thought I'd make a proper post out of it. This is what I plan to make tomorrow, up to the custard level, so that all the flavours can bed down together nicely by Monday.

Find a pretty, medium-to-big bowl, preferably see-through. (This trifle looks, if anything, even better than the one in that photo a few posts back, so it's nice to be able to see the layers.)

Ground floor: Savoyardis or other similar sponge-finger biscuits. Fill up the spaces with crumbled-up macaroons, Amaretti biscuits or similiar. Slosh some Kirsch on them (quarter of a cup for a small trifle, half a cup for a big one) to begin the softening-up process.

First floor: a generous layer of warmed jam, preferably strawberry.

Second floor: a very generous layer of fresh raspberries and sliced strawberries, plus some fresh cherries that you've softened by gently simmering in a bit of water with a couple of teaspoons of honey and a pinch of cinnamon. When they're soft enough to pit easily, drain them over a little bowl or mug, keep the liquid, and let everything cool.

You should then be able to pit the cherries by cutting them in half. Mix them up gently with the rasps and strawbs. Use some of the saved cooking liquid to soften up the biscuit layer a bit more (but don't drown it or anything).

Third floor: a finely judged layer of custard: it should cover or at least coat all the fruit and give you a more or less level playing field to decorate. Either use the homemade custard recipe of your choice (if you're going to take the trouble, you might as well do it using eggs and cream rather than custard powder) or a bought one if you want -- Paul's do very nice custard, actually, including a brandy-flavoured one. Also, this year I plan to introduce to the custard layer a few artfully deployed spoonfuls of King Island Creme Dessert (Toffee Caramel flavour).

Fourth floor: whipped cream decoration, using an icing bag and star nozzle or whatever, and making a pattern with cream swirls and toasted almonds and silver cachous and red and green glace cherries. Or whatever.

Here are the flavours in this dessert:

brandy (if you take the Paul's cucky option)

Here are the kilojoules in this dessert:


Dogpossum asked about a low-sugar option for a diabetic version but I'm fairly sure such a thing does not exist in nature. I think what I'd do is pick out the biggest, yummiest, best and most beautiful of the fresh berries and cherries, and save them for the diabetic person to eat out of a crystal plate with a silver spoon.


ThirdCat said...

Wish you were doing the sweets at our do instead of me. My bombe isn't looking quite as fabulous irl as it did in my mind. Still, it's pretty hard to totally ruin ice cream. And there'll be almond meal cupcakes as backup.

Also, hope that you did go into the market slightly before I did (about 1.30 this pm), because I do believe there are no Kangaroo Island eggs to be seen. Rosie's from Barossa do make a fine substitute tho - the ones with Rosie and the chooks in what appear to be fields of lavender.

redcap said...

That sounds divine. Nothing like any trifle I've ever had the misfortune to come across. Perhaps you should come up with another name for this version, so there is no confusion between the inedible and the sublime?

Zoe said...

Bless you, Pavcat, you've got a star nozzle!

Pavlov's Cat said...

3C, found the eggs in question elsewhere earlier and grabbed them before someone else did.

Zoe, the way you say that makes me sound like the special attraction in Kitten-Galore's Escort Service. The Star Nozzle, the Venus Butterfly ... You think the star nozzle is impressive, you should see the madeleine tray and the rubber thingy that makes heart-shaped ice blocks.

Mindy said...

I think I've just put on an extra kilo reading that recipe. Still I will dream sweet dreams tonight of scoffing a whole one myself!

lucy tartan said...

I don't have a star nozzle, myself, so would it be ok if I bought some of that spray-on whipped cream in a can?

The Devil Drink said...

You do a fine line in encouraging gluttony and excess, Ms. Cat. I commend you and your star nozzle! (Somewhere, I can hear the ghost of Roy Rene making a tasteless Jewish joke).
This'd go down deliciously with a nice botyritis, sweet sticky or ice wine. Or, hell, that bottle of Kirsch is open and most of it's left, pass it over here.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I forgot to say that you can also sprinkle a bit more Kirsch straight onto the berries and cherries at the fruit layer stage, DD, so thank you for reminding me. And in the Jane Grigson version of this recipe, instead of cream on top of the custard you make whipt syllabub (Laura, who in Jane Austen says that? I'm sure somebody does) with cream and lemon peel and a serious sticky white, and pile that on top like clouds instead.

I think the star nozzle, like the predicted death of Harry Potter, deserves a whole post to itself.

lucy tartan said...

Well, I made this today, with bananas, blackberries, kiwi fruit, the cooked cherries, and pomegranate, and great gobs of the king island toffee stuff. No kirsch, sadly - it was already well on the way to being the most expensive dessert ever. It looks very, very yummy.

The whipt syllabub reference is in Lesley Castle.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh, brilliant -- lovely fruit. Yes, it does cost rather a lot, which is why I only ever make it at Christmas. One can of course vary the fruits and leave out the macaroons and so on if one wants to scale down the spending a tad, but hey, it's Christmas. I hope you really, really, really enjoy it.

dogpossum said...

you're the very bestest best, pavcat!

We have a small crew here for christmas (just my ps and The Squeeze and I), but the ps are English and trifle is important to them. I loathe the gross version that's usually made, but this one looks FABULOUS, especially as we have a fridge full of raspberries and blueberries (hoorah for Tasmania and organic berries!). So we will all have a christmas trifle to enjoy!

The Squeeze and the mother have just gone off to the shops for some mysterious reason (they muttered about the bottle shop, but I think that might be a Lie), so I told them to bring home some cream, some of the spongey biscuits and something else so I can make this lovely dessert.

So we will have trifle after our turkey tomorrow, The Squeeze will make another round of his fabulous mince tarts tonight (they were inhaled yesterday, and taken around to our friends places as presents), and if the cold front continues to move in, we will have snow on Mt Wellington to watch - a white christmas!

And of course, then we're going around to visit the ps' friends in the late afternoon... I wonder if the trifle will survive?

Tonight we're having (more) salmon for dinner, which I'm looking forward to after a three hour nap (!!) - we walked over the Derwent bridge into town, hired bikes and rode to Battery Point for lunch, then all the way back again.

Thanks again, mate - you're the very best!

The Devil Drink said...

They lie and say they're going to the bottleshop? In my experience it's more often one of two alternative reverses: people lie and say they're not going to the bottleshop, or just go to the bottleshop and don't bother to lie.
I hope they bring you back something nice, and unopened.

Zoe said...

I've just finished scoffing my cherry and toasted almond ice cream, and join the thanks to PavCat for her late and decisive appearance as dessert blogger of the year.

I was very lucky to get any of the ice cream. Once Owen tasted it he said "I'm having this. All of it. It's mine."

The Devil Drink said...

I agree. Dessert blogger of the year, Ms. Pavlov.
Zoe, a territorial claim like that can be solved in only one of three ways:
1. By a victory of combined arms: combined air superiority, a preparatory bombardment and a logistically overwhelming surface assault. Chuck the pepper grinder above the table and kick him in the shins, then pinch the ice-cream bowl while he's whingeing. Then prepare to battle your child---save a big serving spoon for a big job o' whackin'.
2. My own preferred Grand Strategy: negotiate with the terrorists. Just say "The ice-cream is yours but I get to keep the booze." Hoarded for after the birth, I believe, in your case Z.
3. Shoot the hostage. Hey, gettoutahere Keanu.
3. (really 3.) Buy some more ice-cream and toasted almonds. Irresponsible? What am I, your personal trainer?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hell no, DD, you have to MAKE it. See post on Dec 22, 12.14 am.

Dessert blogger of the year? I like it. I have more, too. The Toblerone Chocolate Mousse is officially the world's easiest dessert. Tony Donnithorne's Divine Oranges (made with fresh oranges and golden syrup) are also pretty good.