Sunday, 27 June 2010

The small matter of trifle

I was all set to go into Cambridge to buy baba moulds and try to reproduce the delicious rum baba I had at Au Pied de Cochon in Paris, but I couldn't resist adding strawberries to my Riverford order as soon as they appeared on the extras list. Rhubarb is still in season, and is a great partner for strawberries, so I added that to my order too. The result was these trifles, with poached rhubarb and strawberries, a healthy splash of Marsala, thick home-made vanilla custard, and - of course - topped with Riverford's rich double cream whipped up with a little sugar.

You can make trifle with pretty much any fruit - Fergus Henderson gives a recipe for an apple trifle in Beyond Nose to Tail, and it's his custard recipe I used here. This custard contains whole eggs, so is thicker than a crème Anglaise and more luxurious than crème pâtissière. The sponge takes a lot of whisking - it can be done by hand, but is much easier with an electric hand whisk.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Trifle

For the sponge:
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp warm water
  • 85g plain flour
  • pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 180℃. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and dust with caster sugar then flour. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and water in a heat-proof bowl. Place over a pan of gently simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water) and whisk until at least tripled in volume. Remove from the heat and keep whisking until cool. Sift in the flour and salt, and gently fold through. Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For individual trifles, take a plain round cutter slightly bigger than the base of the glass and cut rounds of sponge to fit snugly. Place in the bottom of each glass and pour over a tablespoon of Marsala or sweet sherry.

For the fruit compote:
  • 100ml water
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
  • 400g rhubarb, cut into 5mm dice
  • 200g strawberries, hulled and cut in half
Put the water, sugar, and vanilla into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a simmer. Drop in the diced rhubarb and cook until tender. Add the strawberries at the last minute and cook for a couple of minutes, but stop before they start to lose their shape.

Allow to cool, remove the vanilla pod, then spoon over the soaked sponges.

For the custard:
  •  450ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 85g caster sugar
Place the cream and vanilla into a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Pour over the warm cream, whisking continuously. Now transfer to a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally until it has thickened.

Allow to cool then pour over the fruit.

For the cream topping:
  • 300ml double cream
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Sift the icing sugar onto the cream and vanilla, then whisk to soft peaks.

Spoon or pipe the cream onto the custard. Garnish with a sliced strawberry, then refrigerate until needed. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes or so before serving.

These quantities will make about 6 individual trifles.

No comments:

Post a Comment