Every year, without fail, my gran made us a giant bowl of traditional trifle for Christmas. Layers of Madeira cake, jelly, custard, tinned fruit and cream would be layered in a large glass bowl and served as a finale for our Christmas lunch. As a child, I loved it. As an adult, I ate it with a smile on my face while wishing I had something slightly more sophisticated to eat. I loved it because my gran made it but after the third person dished their portion, the trifle would become a mish-mash of dare I say, grossness. There’s not much about mushy cake, lumps of jelly, custard and chunks of fruit that’s appetising.
Even with all of that, I can’t imagine not serving trifle as part of a Christmas meal but I thought I would ‘chic’ it up a bit by simplifying the whole thing and only focusing on one main flavour. Perfectly ripe strawberries. I decided to make these strawberry and cream trifles but instead of simple whipped cream, I made a crème patisserie (pastry cream) which is a beautiful sweet, thick custard, perfect for using in a trifle. Instead of normal madeira cake, I used caramel swiss roll, sliced into thin slices. You could of course use Madeira cake as well. Finished with macerated strawberries and whipped cream, this trifle is turned into a masterpiece and do yourself and your guests the favour of making individual portions. No messy, mushy trifle, only pure deliciousness.
for the custard cream
- 600 ml full cream milk
- 5 ml vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 50 g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour (approximately 30g
- 4 tablespoons corn flour approximately 60g
- pinch of salt
- 100 g mascarpone cheese
for the strawberries
- 800 g strawberries sliced
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- swiss roll/madeira cake sliced
- whipped cream
- sliced strawberries
- icing sugar
- To make the custard cream, heat the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan until just before boiling point (this is called scalding).
- In the meanwhile, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, flours and pinch of salt until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- When the milk mixture is hot, pour it slowly into the egg yolk mixture whilst continuously mixing.
- When all the milk has been incorporated, transfer the runny mixture back to the saucepan and over a gentle heat, allow to cook and thicken, whisking continuously.
- When the mixture is thick and there is no flouriness when you taste it, remove from the heat and beat in the mascarpone cheese.
- Place in a bowl and put a piece of cling film directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge and allow to cool.
- To prepare the strawberries, combine the sliced strawberries with the caster sugar and vanilla and stir well. Allow to stand for 20 minutes until the strawberries have released a lot of juice.
- To assemble the trifles, layer the sliced madeira cake with the macerated strawberries and the custard cream.
- Top with whipped cream, sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of icing sugar.