The crème anglaise used in this trifle is a pouring custard about the same consistency as pouring cream, although it ends up as more of a sloppy mess than the set trifles most people are used to. Crème anglaise is also perfect served warm or cold and poured over fresh seasonal fruit. It is an excellent accompaniment for the flourless chocolate cake. If you plan to take the trifle to a picnic you should use the crème pâtissière as it sets firmer. It would even be possible to use the vanilla lime pannacotta as a substitute for custard. If you use the crème pâtissière or pannacotta, pour them over the trifle before they have set.
To make the pear jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in a large container of cold water for 2–3 minutes, to soften. If using powdered gelatine, place in a bowl with
To make the orange jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in a large container of cold water for 2–3 minutes, to soften. If using powdered gelatine, place in a bowl with
To make the crème anglaise, put the milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean and add the seeds and bean to the pan. Stir until almost boiling to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat.
Pour the warm milk mixture into a bowl with the lightly beaten egg yolks and whisk well to combine. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan over low–medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon for 8-12 minutes, or until the custard thickens slightly — be careful not to boil the custard or it will curdle. The common test to see if the custard is cooked in a professional kitchen is to lift the spoon from the custard and run your finger along the back of the spoon; if the line made by your finger remains clear the custard is cooked. Pour the custard through a fine sieve and whisk for a few minutes to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
To assemble the trifle, cut the sponge cake into
Most Australians who grew up in the sixties and seventies knew trifle from an auntie or grandmother who made it from packet jelly, packet custard, old cake and fruit that was becoming over-ripe. Usually made in a big glass punch bowl it was sort of a graveyard for cake and old fruit. I’m sure there were plenty of well-made trifles around, but I learnt early not to sample trifle and really didn’t expose myself to them again until they started appearing on restaurant menus in the eighties as an elegant dessert set in perfect layers and served in fine individual glasses. Trifle is a great dish and the variations are only limited by the availability of fruit and your imagination. It can be made in a large bowl, which makes it great for a picnic or a buffet.
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