Baked peaches. Cinnamon pound cake. Spiced rum and vanilla Galliano. Vanilla custard.
Port wine jelly. Whipped cream. Flaked almonds. Glacé cherries.
Almost — but not quite — traditional.
Take a cinnamon pound cake based on this recipe. And custard from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. Then fill in the gaps (literally and figuratively) with your basic understanding of what makes a classic Australian trifle.
Serves: about 10 hungry dessert-eaters.
For the jelly
2 packets port wine jelly
2 cups boiling water
400 mls cold water
For the cinnamon pound cake
2 cups plain flour
2 + 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 large egg whites (keep the yolks for the custard)
3/4 cup milk (skim is fine)
2 tsp vanilla essence
160 grams butter (at room temperature)
1 + 1/2 cups caster sugar
For the baked peaches
4 large yellow peaches
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs dark spiced rum (I released The Kraken)
2 tbs vanilla Galliano
For the vanilla custard
1 cup full-cream milk
1 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla paste (or one vanilla pod)
8 egg yolks (6 from the pound cake, and then some)
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tbs plain flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup alcohol — spiced rum + vanilla Galliano in whatever proportions you prefer
600 mls thickened cream
Flaked (or slivered) almonds
Glacé cherries (the real ones, not the not-cherry ones)
- Begin with the jelly.
Fully set jelly is crucial, so start here. Prepare two batches: add 500 mls boiling water to the two packets of jelly crystals, stir to dissolve, add 400 mls cold water, pour into two shallow dishes. Put in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
- Cake time.
Preheat the oven to 155° C. Butter a 2L square Pyrex baking dish (or similar).
- In a medium bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, spices, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Separate the egg whites into another medium bowl (put the yolks in another bowl until you’re ready to make the custard), add the milk and vanilla essence, and whisk briefly (just to combine).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with hand mixers), cream together the butter and sugar (for about 4 minutes).
- Slow down the mixer(s) and carefully add a slurp of the egg/milk mixture, then a bit of the flour mixture, alternating until all the ingredients are fully combined.
- Pour out the batter into the prepared baking dish, then bake for around an hour, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the dish for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Don’t worry if the top or edges are quite crispy — you can slice these off (AND EAT THEM) before constructing the trifle.
While the cake is cooling (or afterwards), turn the oven up to 180° C. Cut the peaches into thick slices (you don’t want them to collapse when baked/soaked), transfer to another oven-proof dish, and toss with the alcohols and brown sugar.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. The peaches should be juicy but not too soft.
- Leave to cool at room temperature (you can turn off the oven now).
- And now for the custard.
In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, bring the milk and cream to simmering point, stirring (almost) constantly.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla paste (or scrape in the seeds of a pod) and leave to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and flour.
- Once the milk/cream has cooled (you should be able to comfortably stick your finger in it without yelping in pain), slowly pour it into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Transfer the whole lot back into the saucepan and cook over a low/medium heat, stirring (really) constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of said spoon.
- Remove from the heat, transfer the custard to a container and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the trifle (by which time it should/must be fully cooled). This is a runny custard, because you want it to soak into the cake. So don’t worry if it doesn’t ‘set’!
- And now for the moment of glory: whipping and assembling.
Wait until everything has cooled, then…
- Cut the pound cake into 1 cm chunks. You can slice off the edges/top now if you don’t want any firm/crispy bits in your finished trifle.
- Whip the cream (using a stand mixer or beaters, or by hand if you’re mad).
- Grab a large (that bit is important!) glass serving bowl, and start layering. Start with a layer of peaches then a layer of cake. Then drizzle some of the fruit juices and some of the extra booze into the cake. Then some of the custard. Then a layer of jelly. Then repeat: fruit, cake, juice/booze, custard, jelly. Repeat again, until all these ingredients are gone.
- For the top layer, cover the trifle in the whipped cream, spreading all the way to the edges. Top with flaked almonds, and halved glacé cherries.
- Stand back and admire your engineering handiwork. Serve carefully, making sure everyone gets some of everything. Enjoy responsibly. Don’t eat (this) trifle and drive. Have a designated driver for every designated trifler. Keep leftovers in the fridge. Etc. Etc.