One of my earliest Christmas memories, other than
Christmas presents, has to be watching my mother lovingly assemble her Christmas
trifle. My mum would spend Christmas Eve
standing over a gigantic glass bowl serenely layering jam filled sponge, jelly,
custard, fruit and cream finishing with a grated flourish of chocolate.
Once the trifle was finished and nestled safely in the fridge awaiting its triumphant debut on Christmas day I would find myself making additional trips to the fridge not only to sneakily steal more rose’s chocolates but to take yet another glance of what I knew to be the most amazing dessert in the world. Next to the presents Santa would be bringing, eating the trifle on Christmas day was what I looked forward to most.
This year my trifle creation is in the form of a Raspberry and White Chocolate Trifle with Pistachio Praline. Raspberries are my favourite fruit, there is rarely a day that passes where they are not sprinkled on my yoghurt and muesli, I adore them so I couldn’t help but include them in this year’s trifle.
And white chocolate, to me makes the perfect sweet partner to the tart sharp flavour of the raspberries. I incorporated the white chocolate into the mascarpone cream mixture simply by melting the chocolate, allowing it to cool slightly and then stirring it through. The white chocolate cream mixture had the delicious flavour of white chocolate but the smooth and luscious texture of mascarpone and cream.
This year my vanilla sponge was steeped in a syrupy concoction of limoncello, sugar and water. The lemon citrus flavour balances the sweetness of the syrup to create a well balanced hum of alcohol throughout the trifle. And a trifle would not be worthy of its name without vanilla custard. I went to the effort of making my own custard but if you prefer to opt for the shop bought version please do so unashamedly, this time of the year is incredibly busy and there are times when a short cut is both well needed and deserved!
Another short cut that I happily took and suggest you do the same is purchasing jelly crystals rather than making homemade jelly. To be honest the thought of making jelly from scratch seemed like way too much effort so I took pleasure in boiling water, adding jelly crystals and stirring. And by the time the easy peasy effortless jelly was set I had whipped up the rest of my ingredients for the trifle, ready to my grand assembly.
And just as my mother did, I stood before a gigantic glass bowl and serenely layered my trifle. I built heavenly layers of limoncello sodden vanilla sponge, fresh raspberries, raspberry jelly, the mascarpone white chocolate cream mixture, vanilla custard until I reached the top of the glass bowl. And this is where I took my trifle to a whole new level of deliciousness, I opted for a trick my mother never would have even considered...pistachio praline.
Whilst my jelly was setting, I heated sugar and water in a saucepan and watched it reach the caramel toffee stage at which point I took my caramel off the stove and slowly and carefully poured it over awaiting pistachios. Within minutes the praline had set and I took to it with a hammer, pleasurably smashing the praline into smithereens. I left some of the praline in longs shards and obliterated the rest into almost praline fairy dust, which made for an interesting and delicious texture a top my creamy trifle.
This trifle is a triumphant end to any Christmas celebration; it’s full of festive colour and seasonal cheer and I promise, if you take a few short cuts (just like I did) you’ll be just as cheery as the trifle. Merry Christmas! K xxx
Raspberry and White Chocolate Trifle with Pistachio Praline
1 glass bowl, 24 cm diameter
2 vanilla sponge cakes, cut into 3 x 3 cm squares
1 packet store bought raspberry jelly
500g raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1/3 cup limoncello
½ cup caster sugar
¾ cup pistachio
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup water
White Chocolate Cream:
600g sour cream
½ cup icing sugar
100g white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1Ltr store bought vanilla custard OR see recipe below
Prepare raspberry jelly according to packet instructions, place in fridge until set.
For the limoncello syrup, place the limoncello, 1½ cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened. Set aside to cool in a shallow bowl (so that you can easily dip sponge later).
For the pistachio praline, line a baking tray with baking paper and cover with pistachios. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Insert a sugar thermometer into the sauce pan and bring to the boil. Cook WITHOUT stirring for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture reaches 170° C on the sugar thermometer. If you do not have a sugar thermometer cook until the mixture is golden in colour and smells of toffee/caramel. Pour immediately and carefully over pistachios and allow to cool. Once hard, break praline into small pieces and set aside.
For the white chocolate mascarpone cream, place the mascarpone in a bowl and stir with a whisk until smooth, add the sour cream and icing sugar and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened. Add slightly cooled melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
For the custard: prepare according to recipe below, set aside. Alternatively, use store bought custard.
Place the jelly, limoncello syrup, sponge, mascarpone cream, custard and raspberries on the bench in front of you. Dip the sponge pieces into the cooled limoncello syrup, until slightly soaked. To assemble the trifles, fill the glass bowl by layering the sponge, jelly, custard, half of the raspberries and mascarpone mixture. Continue layering until the glass bowl is full, finishing with the mascarpone cream mixture. Top the trifle with the remaining raspberries and shards of the praline.
Home made Vanilla Custard
1 cup milk
1 cup thickened cream
1 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan. Using a sharp knife, split vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out seeds. Add bean and seeds to milk mixture. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat.
Whisk egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Remove vanilla beans from milk mixture. Pour hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 to 20 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon (do not allow custard to boil, as it might curdle).