Ole Brown’s recipe for festive pear and sherry trifle | food

a Trifle isn’t just for Christmas! It is one of the best desserts in the world. Deep down, I don’t really care about fruit; The truth is, it’s a receptacle for everything else—sponge layers, jellies, custards, and cream. But I suppose adding pears or quince instead of, say, strawberry jam gives it a more sophisticated, and, of course, seasonal look.

pear and sherry trifle;

You will need a small bowl or a pretty glass bowl.

to equip 30 minutes
cook 40 minutes
Designation 1 hour 30 minutes
serves 8

For the sponge
1 x A box of 175 grams Sponge fingers
150 ml
amontillado sherry

For pears and jelly
6 pears as mature as possible
1 lemon
grated, plus a squeeze of juice
350ml white or sparkling wine
1 tsp
vanilla paste
125 grams of white sugar
2½ sheets of gelatin
– If you are catering to vegans, make sure the gelatin is not made from any animal products

for the custard
5 egg yolks
4 tablespoons of soft sugar
1 tablespoon of corn flour
200 ml full fat milk
300 ml double cream
1 vanilla bean
Slit in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds

to end
Peeled almonds
400 ml double cream
Parma violets
Candied orange peel
Iced Cherry

Divide each sponge stick into three, and use them to line the base of a serving bowl, then pour the sherry evenly over the top.

Peel and core the pears, then drop them into another bowl filled with water and a squeeze of lemon until they don’t discolor.

Put the wine, 300ml of water, lemon zest, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Drain the pears, add them to the pot, and simmer for eight to 10 minutes, until tender. Lift the pears out with a slotted spoon and allow the syrup to simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until reduced to about 600ml.

Cut the cooked pears into cubes of about 3 cm and arrange them on top of the sherry-soaked sponge.

Soak the gelatin in cold water for five minutes, then once it’s soft, gently whisk it into the syrup bowl until it dissolves. Put the syrup in the fridge for about half an hour, until it just starts to set but isn’t quite gelatinous, then pour it over the pear pieces in the trifle bowl and put it back in the fridge for another half hour, until it’s completely set.

For the custard, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Put the milk, cream and vanilla in a non-stick frying pan over low heat and stir. Just before the milk mixture begins to boil, pour it into the egg bowl and stir constantly. Reduce heat under saucepan to low, then pour in the custard mixture and cook, stirring slowly and constantly, until the back of a spoon is coated. Remove from heat and whisk sporadically as it cools until it becomes a thick, velvety custard. Once the custard has cooled, pour it over the now-set jelly layer, and return the small bowl to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes or so, until the custard has set as well.

Toast the almond husks in a dry skillet until pale golden, then leave to cool. Whip the double cream until thick, then spread over the set custard layer. Garnish with almonds, Parmesan violets, candied zest and cherries, and serve.

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