about 115g / 4oz wild strawberries (fraises de bois), or small cultivated strawberries, to decorate
For the Sponge
125g / 4½ozcaster sugar
125g / 4½ozflour
For the Custard
550ml / 19fl ozdouble cream
1vanilla pod, split
25g / 1ozflour
150g / 5ozcaster sugar
1 leaf of gelatine
For the Red Wine Jelly
375ml / 13fl ozfruity red wine, ideally a Beaujolais
200g / 7ozcaster sugar
6sprigs of basil
4leaves of gelatine
For the Hot Strawberry Coulis
450g / 1lbstrawberries
about 115g / 4ozcaster sugar
First make the sponge: preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2 and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Beat the eggs and sugar together until completely aerated and light. Sift in the flour and cornflour, spread on the prepared baking sheet to make a layer about 1cm / ½inch deep and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
Using the base of the moulds in which you are going to make the trifles (you need something with a diameter of about 10cm / 4inches –try a well-cleaned used can, with top and bottom removed, or new plastic drainpipe cut into short lengths), cut the sheet of sponge into rounds the size you require.
While the sponge is baking, make the custard: bring the cream with the split vanilla pod to just below the boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, cream the egg yolks, flour and sugar together until light. Pour the hot cream on the egg mixture, stirring, and then pour this back into the pan. Stir the custard continuously over a low, even heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Soften the gelatine in alittle water. When it is soft, add to the custard. Sieve into a container and allow to cool. Cover with cling-film, punctured in two or three places, to prevent a skin forming.
To make the red wine jelly: in a pan, bring the wine to the boil with the sugar, basil and peppercorns, stirring from time to time. Then sieve the mixture into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool alittle. Stir in the gelatine until well combined.
Place a layer of sponge on the bottom of the mould and sprinkle with sherry. Place some halved strawberries around the edge, with their cut sides outwards, and pour in some of the jelly until it reaches the level of the tops of the strawberry halves. Allow to set in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Place another layer of sponge on top of the jelly, sprinkle with more sherry and pour on the the custard. Leave to set once again in the fridge for another 30 minutes or so.
Make the strawberry coulis: put the strawberries and sugar in pan with adrop of water and bring to the boil. Cook until a syrup has formed that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Purée in a blender or food processor, then strain through a sieve to remove seeds. Adjust the sweetness with alittle more sugar, if necessary.
Remove the trifles from their mould (run a sharp knife round the inside edge and/or dip the moulds briefly in hot water to help). Spoon some of the coulis in the centre of each of the serving plates, set the trifles on top of this and pipe some of the cream on top of the trifles. Decorate with the wild or small strawberries.