Sarah normally makes the pretty sweet things we eat, trifles, custards or ice cream. But this trifle is my first, and it’s my first ever custard. Growing up custard was banned from my house, my mum never ever would make it, as she had been subjected to a childhood of after dinner custard and canned peaches. So I never learnt to make it – but Sarah taught me the other day and I very proudly stirred it until it was beautifully thick and smelling of vanilla. We made little individual trifles that looked cute as at the dinner table.
On Saturday Sarah moves into her new apartment after nearly a year of house sitting and roaming. It looks over the park – the same one we looked over when we lived together way back when. I’m sure she’ll be able to see all the same runners from her window: the elderly Chinese man who runs very slow and stoic, the guy on roller blades with ski poles, the runner who runs like he’s always just stopping himself from falling over.
I am envisioning a summer of picnics in the park sunshine. Trifle and a jug of Pimms anyone?
Trifle with Pomegranate, Strawberries and Lavender Almond Sponge.
What is important with the trifle is to substitute ingredients, especially in the fruity layer, substitute with what is in season. You could also use any sponge or cake recipe you liked depending on what you have on hand, and what marries with the fruit flavours. Sarah has been know to put a rosewater toffee top as the final layer in the trifle, but we didn’t do that for this one.
for the custard:
(We used Stephanie Alexander’s custard recipe from The Cook’s Companion.)
1 cup organic milk
1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean, split
5 free-range egg yolks
½ cup castor sugar
In a heavy-based saucepan bring milk, cream and the vanilla bean to simmering point. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until light, then whisk in warm milk and cream. Return to rinsed-out pan and cook over a moderate heat for at least 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour into a cold bowl, scrape in some of the vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod. Serve warm or cold.
(Rinse and dry the vanilla pod and pop it in your sugar jar.)
for the sponge:
We used the lavender almond cake.
for the fruit:
jewels from one pomegranate
This photo is of individual little trifles we made in glasses. But the trifle can be made in a giant bowl if you are attending a BBQ, or you just don’t want to be so fiddly. Pour custard as the bottom layer, cover custard with torn hunks of cake, cover cake with fruit. Refrigerate.