Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grandma Naylor's sherry trifle

Grandma Naylor is my maternal grandmother and she was a wonderful simple basic English cook.  Sadly she died when I was quite young, but there are three dishes that I make that are from her, meat and potato pieyorkshire puddings and her sherry trifle. Every family in Britain probably has their version of trifle, but this is the trifle of my childhood and therefore in my estimation the best.  My grandmother always made it with canned loganberries, which are a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry.  But these are not easy to find here so I use frozen raspberries of which there is an abundance, and they give the same effect.

This is a dessert that can be made ahead, in fact it should be made several hours ahead to let the fruit and sherry soak into the sponge. I am not sure what custard my Grandmother used, but I expect it was birds instant custard, and that is a good alternative to scratch made custard, but really it is hardly any more work to make it from scratch and I do prefer it.

I used an old bowl that I had inherited from my Mother, but actually I do not remember which side of the family it came from, but it is a beautiful bowl and just the right size for trifle.

For the base
1 bought light sponge cake (I often buy the kind that are supposed to filled with berries)
1/4 cup (or more) medium to sweet sherry or port
3 cups of frozen raspberries

Layer the sponge and the raspberries in the bottom of a bowl, this is often made in a glass bowl to show the layers. Douse liberally with sherry, I gave an approximate measurement of 1/4 cup, but really I have never actually measured it. The raspberries can be still frozen or partially thawed as mine were or canned , if I was using fresh I would mash them a little first or even heat them slightly to get the juices running.

For the custard
1/2 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of warm milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Put the sugar and yolks in a large bowl and whisk them until they are thickened and pale.

Stir in the flour and when it is well combined then pour on the warm milk.  If you use cold milk then it will take longer for the custard to thicken.

Place in the microwave for 2 minutes and then stir, place in for further 1 minute increments stirring after each time until the custard is thickened.  Mine took 4 minutes in total, but it really depends on the warmth of the milk and the power of the microwave.  You can also do this in a saucepan on the stove, but then you have to stand over it stirring constantly. Pour the warm custard over the base.

Make sure that the custard completely covers the base.

Cover this with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 or 5 hours, but overnight would be fine too. During this time the sponge cake soaks up the raspberry juices and sherry and the custard becomes solid not runny.

Just before serving spoon over some lightly whipped cream.

Cover the custard completely and decorate with some toasted almonds.  I added some edible pearls because I had some and I thought that they would look pretty.

It was a beautiful day here today, sunny and warm, and it ended with some friends and roast beef with yorkshire pudding.

and a good helping of sherry trifle!

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