We were invited to 2 parties on Saturday. Each one of course wanted us to bring something. We always bring something meatless to these affairs because the vegetarians get rather short shrift. This year, however, we decided on desserts and not to vegetarian meat courses. That was because a good friend said, "you are English, you must know how to make trifle. It is one of my favorite desserts." Since she was co-hosting a party, it seemed wise to go with the flow.
Trifle is deceptively simple. You can do it the easy way – or the Chris way. I, of course chose the Chris way. That involves making custard (the easy way would have you buy it – or horror of horrors, use vanilla pudding. Also I decided to use crème de cassis instead of sherry. Not traditional, but goes so well with raspberries. We always have crème de cassis on hand for kirs and kir royales, but that's a different posting.
This isn't really about 2 trifles – it is one giant recipe placed into 2 bowls. The recipe below is the recipe I started with before doubling (well kind of because it doesn't double exactly – the cornstarch for example is less than you might think).
32 fl oz whipping cream (1 US Quart) divided use
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
1 ½ oz sugar
1 packet lady fingers (trifle sponges)
3T Raspberry jam, warmed so it is spreadable.
12 oz frozen raspberries
3 oz crème de cassis
2 large bananas, peeled and thinly sliced (30 slices per banana)
A few drops pure almond essence
A few slivered almonds toasted lightly for decoration
Place half of the cream into a saucepan. Preferably a pan with a rounded edge between the base and the sides. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add to the cream. Also add the pod. When sieved the seeds will stay in the custard, but the pod will be extracted and thrown away. (I used one pod for the double sized recipe and it was fine. You don't really need to double that).
Turn the heat under the cream on to a medium temperature. Stir the cream occasionally until it is close to boiling point. You will see an occasional bubble rising and lots of steam coming off it.
Before refrigerating the custard, cover with cling wrap. To make sure a skin doesn't form, press the cling wrap right on to the surface.
The trifle should now be refrigerated for at least 3 hours before serving.