Wednesday 1 October 2008

A Trifling Matter

You may or may not know that it's British Food fortnight at the moment, and considering I'm a fairly patriotic blogger I thought I really had to make time for this one -- I was even organised enough to fit in making this before I left home to start uni at the weekend! Don't all die of shock just yet; I've been so busy that I almost forgot to post it.

The student diet of, er, toast (largely) means I don't feel like I've particularly made the most of BFF, but fortunately the brilliant Antonia of Food, Glorious Food has been flying the (union) flag with her British Food Fortnight Challenge!

I couldn't resist an opportunity to make a 'thoroughly British dish', so to make up for rather scatty posting for a while I decided to go all out with the ingredients for this one - Blackberry Trifle!

If you're unfamiliar with them; trifles generally have four layers; sponge at the bottom, then fruit, then custard, then whipped cream. Usually, at least where I'm from, raspberries are used, but with the theme being British/local/seasonal, I thought I'd branch out a bit.

Yes. I went blackberry picking again.

In my defence, this year was less horrific than the last - there were actually blackberries out this time around, which is always a good start - and it was all going rather well until, at the furthest possible point from home, my bag starting leaking purple juice all down my jeans and I was forced to rustle something up with (un-used! I stress that they were un-used!) dog poo bags. Will the humiliation ever end?

And traumatic experiences aside, I can at least say that I used organic, local, hand-picked blackberries, right?

For the cake part, I thought I probably couldn't get much more traditional and British than by using another of my Gran's old recipes; this madeira cake comes from the handwritten recipe book she gave my mum when she went to uni, back in, I don't know, Tudor times or something. This recipe book is practically an ancient relic, as you can imagine, which is why I don't have it with me at university, and thus why I can't tell you the recipe I used. I know, I'm hopeless.

My failings aside; this is a fabulous trifle - it's one of those puddings I always forget how much I like (until I realise I'm eating serving-spoonfuls straight out of the bowl, headfirst in the fridge). You can also make it ridiculously easily by using bought cake and tinned custard, and to be honest the charm of trifle is partly in doing this (I think it's a British thing. Er, or laziness).

Blackberry Trifle

Measurements for this are all very approximate, because I didn't really use them.

About 400g madeira cake (bought or homemade)
300ml double cream
150g cream cheese

couple of drops vanilla
400g tin custard
400g blackberries
4-5 tbsp water
2 tbsp caster sugar

1. For the base, break up the madeira cake into pieces and push into the bottom of a large serving bowl (I used an old one of my grandma's; bonus British points?). Simmer the blackberries in a pan with the sugar and water for a good few minutes until you have plenty of juice; there should be enough to soak into the sponge to give it that fantastic purple colour.

2. Spoon the blackberries and juice over the sponge and allow this to cool before covering it with the tinned custard.

3. For the topping, you can either just use plain whipped cream or fold in some cream cheese or mascarpone; I saw this in a trifle recipe ages ago but can't remember whose it was. Anyway, your cream should be lightly whipped (don't overwhip it) and dolloped over the custard layer. You might want more than I've suggested; it looks great if you're generous with the cream but proportions are personal preference, and I like less cream and more sponge.

To the Queen!


Finla said...

Oh I want to have them, so creamy and delicious

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Triffle was probably the best contribute Brithish gave to the world!

Abitofafoodie said...

So happy you made a trifle - I was hoping someone would (...and almost did one myself). Blackberries are a huge favourite (though rather scarce here in SW London) and I'd adore a big bowlful of your lovely pud. Yum.
P.S. Bonus points for grandmother's bowl duly awarded!

Y said...

Your trifle looks amazing! I could do with some right now. Oh and that big bag of blackberries makes me drool. Are we going to see more blackberry recipes from you? :)

Anonymous said...

It looks so delicious! And the photos are amazing too! I loved the blackberries ones =)

Amanda said...

I was born in England though raised in the states. We used to go to my aunt's house for every holiday and she always made trifle. It was my favorite dessert on the table followed closely by lemon tarts. :) This looks divine and I am bookmarking it to try later. Thank you!

grace said...

so this is what a real trifle is like--good to know. it looks and sounds quite marvelous, and i suspect that the americanized versions would pale in comparison. :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Fabulous - a real English trifle!

Now, gimme that spoon...

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you went to the trouble of making a madeira cake for your trifle, then used custard from a ... TIN!

Shop-bought trifle sponges are best for trifle - nice and dry to soak up the sherry.

But you must, simply must, make real custard.

For proper trifle.

Rosie said...

A truly amazing trifle my hubby would adore this - a wonderful entry for this event!!

Rosie x

Catastrophe Waitress said...

i am most definitely NOT a trifle fan, but this certainly looks fantastic.

those fabulous pictures have inspired me to hunt out my nearest Pick Your Own.

cheers very much!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh i love everthing melds together in one delicious smoosh! i usually make them with leftover cake bits and birds custard. mmmm!

Natasha said...

Yummy! I'm all for simple when it comes to desserts (um, mostly because I suck at baking, but, oh well...)! I want this trifle now, damn you!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! I don't know enough english grammar to say this but I think: how could I ever live without this? I never tasted a triftle and I must solve this situation as soon as possible I think. I cannot live being such a sinner. ;-)

And... sorry for my repeated comments, my PC is a little crazy today.