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Monday, 10 June 2013

Non-alcoholic English Trifle with Dark Chocolate

The origins of English Trifle can be traced back to 1596, when the earliest known recipe for this traditional dessert was published in a book called 'The Good Huswifes Jewell' by Thomas Dawson. It was very popular in Victorian England. The original recipe consists of sponge fingers soaked  in brandy and Madeira wine (hence it is also called 'tipsy cake'), fruit, egg custard and cream. 

To make it healthier and more suitable for children and those who don't drink alcohol I have created this version by substituting the Madeira wine and the brandy with diluted strawberry-flavoured barley water. I have also added grated dark chocolate in between the layers for extra 'yumminess'. 

Ingredients (serves 8):

1 tbsp strawberry barley water
2 tbsp water
20 sponge fingers
2 tbsp strawberry conserve
300 ml (1 1/2 cups) double cream
150 g (1 cup) plain chocolate, grated

For the custard:

300 ml (1 1/4 cup) milk 
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornflour
75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

To decorate:

8 Strawberries, halved
Flaked almonds


To make the custard, combine the milk and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and cornflour together in  a heatproof bowl until well blended. Pour the hot milk mixture over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly and well. 

Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the custard thickens. Do not allow the custard to boil or it will curdle. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.

Mix together the water and the barley water in a shallow dish. Dip 10 sponge fingers (one at a time) into the mixture and place in the base of a glass dish. Spread this layer of moist sponge fingers with the strawberry conserve. Dip the remaining sponge fingers into the barley water mixture and place over the strawberry conserve layer. Pour the remaining  barley water mixture over the sponge fingers and cover with the grated chocolate.

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold two thirds of the cream into the cold custard until well combined and smooth. Pour over the sponge fingers and grated chocolate in the glass dish.

Fill a piping bag with the remaining cream. Pipe the cream over the top of the custard and decorate with the strawberries and flakes almonds.

Chill for 3 to 4 hours.

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