The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 1 January 2007

Peach and Mango Trifle recipe

I made two types of trifles last year for Christmas but it appears I was too lazy to post the specifics of the recipes. This meant that when I wanted to do a trifle again this year, it wasn't just a simple matter of referring to my recipe - I had to actually do a search of several custard and cake recipes, make a comparison of the recipes and then modifying them (typical process I always go through when trying an unfamiliar recipe). Serves me right for being lazy. So here goes.

There are no hard and fast rules for a trifle recipe. If there is one rule, it's this: make trifles at least one day ahead so that the flavours have the time to develop and mingle. And you can use any ingredients you think will complement each other. My recipe is non-alcoholic, but feel free to make a boozy version if you want by using a sweet liquer instead of syrup to drizzle on the cake.

I've laid out my recipe in the order it goes in the bowl, but keep in mind that you'd need to prepare the cake, jelly and custard in advance to ensure that they've cooled/set for assembling.

Cake base

Stale dry-ish cakes are usually used in trifles (in fact, trifles are like fried rice - a means of using up leftovers), to absorb the flavours used in the trifles. Since sponge cakes are notoriously difficult to make at home (especially since I don't have any electric beaters), I made an ordinary cake with half the amount of butter so that I have a dry-ish cake to work with. It still wasn't as dry as I wanted, but definitely not as rich as a butter cake.

Like I said before, there are no rules - you can use any types of cakes, muffins, or even biscuits as the base. And you can, of course, use store-bought cakes to make life easier for yourself.

25g butter
50g sugar
1 egg
1/4tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (100g) plain flour or self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder (omit if using SR flour)

Preheat oven at 180degC. Cream the butter and sugar together until well-mixed and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to mix well. Sift in the flour (and baking powder if using) to the wet mixture and gently fold to produce a cake batter. Be careful not to overmix otherwise you'll end up with a tough cake. Pour batter into a cake tin and bake in the oven for 20-25minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when poked into the centre of the cake. Let the cake cool for a few minutes inside the cake tin before removing it to cool on a cooling rack. Cut into small-ish pieces and lay them at the bottom of a glass bowl.

Fruit layer

I used canned mangoes and peaches (one each of about 400g), drained (save the syrup for use in the jelly and to pour over the cake base layer) and cut into small pieces. Drizzle perhaps 2 tablespoons of syrup over the cake pieces. Put a layer of fruit pieces on the cake pieces.


I used the syrup from the canned fruits and kanten (agar) to make the jelly. You can use store-bought jelly packs. Once the jelly has set (which doesn't take long with kanten), cut into small cubes and place a layer of jelly on top of the fruit layer.

Custard layer

Did you know the base of good ice cream is a custard? I've heard it's easy to stuff up making a custard but so far I've successfully made custard three times with no hiccups. Easy. Just make sure to incorporate the hot milk slowly into the egg/sugar/vanilla mixture while whisking vigorously to ensure that you don't end up with sugared scrambled eggs.

600mL milk
5 egg yolks
60g sugar
3 tsp cornflour

Heat the milk in a saucepan and turn off the heat when it starts simmering. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well-combined. Slowly pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture while whisking vigorously. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. The custard will thicken after a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Pour on top of the fruit/jelly layer of the trifle.

Top layer

To finish the trifle off, I wanted something sweet and crunchy as the topping. I found sliced almonds and something called "Peanut Crunch" which tasted like biscuit bits. It gave a nice contrasting texture to the trifle. Exactly what I was aiming for.

Voila! A trifle, which was quite tasty, if I might say so myself. Not too rich or heavy, and a lovely way to finish off a Christmas meal.

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