Blood plums are cooked with red wine and spices to create a jelly with a deep, rich mulled wine flavour. The trifle is especially good if you make your own swiss roll. If you do, keep back 150 grams of the cooked plums and boil it with 50 grams of sugar to make a quick jam to spread on the sponge.
1 small swiss roll, filled with plum or raspberry jam (see recipe)
1kg plums (blood plums, if possible)
175ml red wine or water
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
3 gold gelatin sheets
castor sugar and cream sherry to taste
thick pastry cream (see recipe)
whipped cream and toasted flaked almonds to finish
Classic genoise sponge (swiss roll)
3 eggs (60g each)
90g castor sugar
90g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder, optional but makes it lighter
25g butter, melted
Thick whipped pastry cream
An extra thick whipped vanilla custard that is perfect for trifle.
3 yolks (60g eggs)
75g castor sugar
50g custard powder or cornflour
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
200ml double cream
1. Roughly halve the plums, remove the pips and place in a saucepan with the wine. Bring to the boil with the lid on then simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the plums have fallen apart. Stir in the spices, adjusting the amounts to taste, simmer for a few more minutes then tip this into a bowl, sweeten to taste with castor sugar then leave to cool. You should have about 800 millilitres of cooked plums.
2. Soften the gelatin in cold water, stir in about 100 millilitres of the cooked plums then heat gently until the gelatin dissolves. Stir this mixture back into the remaining plums, then chill.
3. Have a two- or three-litre glass serving bowl ready. Slice the swiss roll and place the cut surfaces against the side of the bowl. Spoon lots of sherry on to the sponge so it's slightly wet, then spoon enough plum jelly mixture over so it half-fills the bowl. Cover and chill until the jelly sets, then spread with a thick layer of custard. Chill for a few hours, or overnight. Before serving top with a layer of whipped cream and flaked almonds to serve.
For classic genoise sponge (swiss roll)
1. Heat the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional), and line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Separate the eggs then beat the whites with an electric mixer to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and beat to a soft meringue. Add the yolks and beat until smooth. Sift together the flour and baking powder, fold in very gently then add the melted butter and finish folding through.
2. Spread batterover the baking sheet, about one centimetre thick, and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until just golden on top. Sprinkle a clean tea-towel with castor sugar, flip the sponge on to it, peel off the baking paper then roll up gently. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then unroll and spread with jam before re-rolling.
Thick whipped pastry cream
1. Pour 50 millilitres of milk into a small bowl with the yolks, sugar, custard powder and vanilla seeds then heat the remaining 400 millilitres of milk in a saucepan.
2. Stir the yolk mixture together, then pour in some of the boiling milk into the yolk mix and stir well. Pour this into the saucepan with the remaining milk and boil, whisking constantly until hot, thick and glossy. Spoon this on to a dinner plate, cover with cling wrap to stop a skin forming and leave until cold.
3. Scrape the custard into a mixing bowl, add the cream and brandy then beat well with an electric mixer on a high speed until very smooth and light.