Thursday, 22 November 2012

Blackberry and Peach Trifle

A very happy thanksgiving to all of you. Here is something simple if you want to try for this occasion. It’s a bit of a summery treat using peaches and berries, but you can always substitute the fruits with anything of your choice or use canned ones or frozen ones as I did. After all the berry picking that I did few weeks back and making the fresh blackberry ice cream, I was left with thought of what to make with the leftover juicy blackberries. I still had loads of them which I had to freeze later to prevent them from rotting. Blackberries are my favourite berries for baking and desserts and I had a whirlwind of ideas as of what to make with blackberries.

I have already tried few recipes using blackberries including jam, macarons and a crumble cake which are all great. So I wanted to try something different this time. Crumble sounded like a great idea but crumbles and I don’t go well together. I somehow don’t like crumbles and that too after having it from a restaurant recently, I went totally against it. I had lots of egg yolks sitting in the fridge from my macaron baking and some sponge cake that I tried. It had to be something with custard, berries and cake and this trifle was born in my kitchen.

I always wanted to give trifle a go, but I dint plan to make a custard from scratch. As I had lot of egg yolks, I decided to use them up than throwing them away. I have tried making custard before as I always get few egg yolks after baking macarons. If you have good vanilla and use full fat cream and milk, you will get rich tasting, silky smooth custard.

I put them all together just under 40 minutes of which 25 minutes was taken for making custard! It has to be cooked slowly, with much attention and constant stirring. As you are dealing with eggs, too much of heat cooks the eggs and scramble them if you don’t pay enough attention. You really don’t have to make authentic custard here for this recipe. You can use custard powder and make the simplest of custard which is what I wanted to do and would have made it really easy. But I had to save the yolks from binning, so made the custard from scratch.

Anyhow, the recipe is very versatile; you can just play around with any combination of good fruits like grapes, canned pineapple, apples, and berries. You can substitute strawberries for blackberries and you don’t even have to cook it. You can use fruit cocktail that comes in can and use ready-made custard instead of the fresh ones. You can also use dry fruits like figs and dates along with nuts. If you are pressed for time, get a shop bought cake, canned fruits, pre-packed custard and assemble it all together. You can wet your cake with syrup that comes in the can. Nothing can get simpler. But here is a more elaborated version of trifle, with home-made custard for you to try. Peaches and blackberries are one of the best to use together.

Blackberry and Peach trifle
Serves about 10

300g blackberries (You could use about ½ kilo if you want more berries in your trifle), plus extra for garnishing
1/3 cup of water
¼ - 1/3 cup caster sugar
2 tins of 420g can of canned peaches in syrup
500g pound cake, butter cake or Madeira cake, cut into 1-2 inch cubes

For whipped cream:
300 mls whipping cream/double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
a splash of vanilla essence

For custard:
5-6 large egg yolks
400mls whole milk
300mls double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar
2 tbs corn flour or use 1 tbsp of custard powder for depth of flavour

1.Cut cake into 2 inch pieces.

2. Add blackberries, water and sugar in to a pan and bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 5 minutes-7 minutes until the fruits go soft. Strain and reserve the juice which will be about a cup.

3. Drain the peaches and discard the liquid. Slice the peaches into smaller size if need be.

Make custard:
1. In a sauce pan, heat milk and cream. Split open the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk along with the pod. Simmer them to scalding point, i.e. simmer it until the mixture is hot and starts steaming and small bubbles. Do not boil. Remove from heat and then pass this through sieve and leave aside for about 5 -10 minutes to cool it down. Discard the vanilla pod.

2. Meanwhile, using an electric whisk beat together the egg yolks and sugar until it is pale yellow and thick; for about 6-8 minutes. Add in corn flour and whisk again.

3. Pour the milk into the egg mixture in thin stream whisking simultaneously to avoid scrambling the egg from the hot milk.

4. Strain the egg-milk and pour the mixture in a heavy base saucepan and heat it on a very low heat stirring constantly for about 20 minutes to avoid cooking and scrambling the egg. Once the custard gets thick and coats the back of the spoon, take off the heat.  Transfer to another bowl, cover it using cling film to prevent from skin forming. Let it cool completely before layering the trifle.

In another bowl, add icing sugar to whipping cream and using an electric beater, whip until it forms soft peaks. Add in vanilla essence and mix.

To assemble:
1. You can arrange this in a large 2 litre clear glass bowl or small individual serving bowl.

2. Place few pieces of cake as the first layer. Dribble the strained juice of blackberry all over to wet the cake.

3. Scatter some blackberries and peaches over the wet cake

4. Scoop in some custard and level with spoon and repeat the layer once more.

5. Top it up with softly whipped cream and chill for several hours until everything is set.

6. Garnish with peaches, berries and nuts.


I have used warm custard while layering the custard, which was still unset. So the beautiful layers of trifle have not been formed as the custard seeped down through the layers of fruits and cake. If you use custard that is completely cooled, you will be able to see more prominent layers of fruits, custard and cake.

You could also use more fruits. I have used just minimal amount of berries here (300g).

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