Trifle is amongst TH’s favourite desserts. My sister introduced us to this delicious dessert when she was a Home Ec student at Lady Irwin College. And she would make it from scratch, the cake, the fruit jam, the works. And TH was totally impressed with his sis-in-law-to-be.
The other day I happened to catch Nigella Lawson on TV (and I said to myself, “So this is the Nigella that everybody talks about!”). Interesting, to be named after a spice and end up getting your fame in the world of food. So, anyway, she was all for something bought, something whipped, to put together a Trifle in a lot less time. We had a friend coming for dinner later in the evening, and it had been a busy weekday. And ‘twas the season for chocolate too…
This is not exactly as Nigella demonstrated. Like we ever follow any recipe in toto! My substitutions resulted in a much lighter dessert and I didn’t need to rush out looking for exotic ingredients, just a visit to the neighbourhood dairy for some fresh cream, and some cake from the same market. The chocolate cake was substituted with Britannia’s fruit cake which all neighbourhood grocers stock. Instead of ‘real’ custard made with cream, whole milk and eggs, I used custard powder and my every-day 3% milk. I used Hershey’s semi-sweet morsels since there was no fancy chocolate available (and would have cost a day’s worth of salary, if it was). Cherries and cherry liqueur were replaced with raisins soaked in rum, and Kahlua diluted with plain water. I was able to use fresh cream for fresh cream though. Wow!
Follow these steps for a quick dessert in line with the blogosphere mood-of-the-moment. Happy Valentine’s day to you too.
(loosely/strongly based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe on her TV shown)
1 package Britannia fruit cake
½ C raisins soaked in ½ C rum
3 heaped T custard powder (vanilla or chocolate flavour)
3 T + 1 T sugar
1 lt milk (3% or whole)
1 C semi-sweet chocolate morsels (or fancy chocolate)
¼ C Kahlua or any other liqueur
150-200 ml fresh cream
grated chocolate to garnish (and cherries, if you have)
Make a paste of the custard powder with a little cold milk. Heat the rest of the milk with the 3 tablespoons of sugar. As it nears boiling point, take it off the heat, give the custard powder paste a good stir and pour it into the hot milk, stirring till thoroughly mixed. This is the trick to lump-free custard. Always do this off heat. The mixture will begin to thicken. Put it back on medium heat, and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. My chocolate was not cooperating this time, though I have done this many times. Serves me right for sticking my tongue at fancy chocolate! The chocolate morsels wouldn’t melt and were sort-of thickening. Not wanting to take chances, I added a little bit of milk to it and warmed it again (before it underwent some chemical change and was beyond redemption!). You should have melted chocolate with a pouring consistency sauce. Pour it into the custard and stir till well combined. You may cover the custard with plastic wrap or stir it now and then as it cools, to prevent a skin from forming.
While the custard cools get working on the other layers. Use a good low-sugar (more fruit) jam to sandwich the cake slices. I used the very flavourful tart-sweet Kumaoni Apricot jam bought at, yes, Dilli Haat. Press these into the bottom of a pretty glass bowl or serving dish. Sprinkle with the rum-soaked raisins. Dilute the Kahlua with twice as much water and pour on to the cake layer – mine was a bit strong here! Whip the cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar till it forms soft peaks.
Pour the chocolate custard over the cake layer. Cover with whipped cream and garnish with grated chocolate or chocolate curls. Chill in the refrigerator till set. Serve with cherries or other fruit. It tastes even better the next day when the liqueur and chocolate falvours get to meld some more.
Tags: chocolate, chocolate dessert, dessert, trifle, trifle pudding, Valentine’s day dessert