A simple and delicious dessert of cherries with cream and custard which can, apart from adding the cream and decoration, be made ahead of time. Chocolate cake is best for the sponge layer – if I use chocolate swiss roll I lessen the sugar in the custard slightly, otherwise the trifle can be very sweet. To soak the base I use a generous sherry glass of Carina brand Cremandorla: Crema aux Amandes, a Sicilian almond flavoured aperitif made with Marsala wine, which we buy when on holiday in France and can be found in many French supermarkets: Leclerc, Super-U, Carrefour, Intermarche… (I suppose it really should be Kirsch but I have never tried it – I find the combination of almond and cherries works well together.) I have never managed to find cherry flavoured jelly, but would use it if I did, although a full sugar type could make the dessert over sweet. (Another alternative would be to set the cherry syrup with gelatine.) Even though they are supposed to be pitted it is worth double checking the cherries as I always find one or two stones – laborious but necessary and much better than damaged teeth! Grated chocolate can be frozen for later use.
As an alternative to Cherry, a Chocolate Orange Trifle can be made using sliced fresh Orange or tinned drained Mandarin Oranges in place of the cherries and orange jelly, with sherry or orange liqueur to soak the base. These recipes are my own invention.
Black Forest Trifle
1 small Chocolate Cake or Swiss Roll or Trifle sponge fingers/Boudoir biscuits to cover base of dish
2-3 tablespoons Almond Liqueur or dry sherry (optional) – see above
680g (350g drained) jar of pitted Cherries in light syrup (Harvin brand – Lidl)
1 Double pack of Raspberry sugar free jelly (powder)
1 pint of custard made with custard powder and milk – sugared to taste
284ml/10fl oz carton Elmlea whipping or double cream
about 6/8 squares Fairtrade bitter Dark Chocolate, grated (for decoration)
1. Line the base of a transparent glass dish with slices of cake, swiss roll or trifle sponge fingers and soak with the almond liqueur or sherry.
2. Drain the jar of cherries, reserving the syrup and reserving 8 good shape cherries for decoration. Place the remaining cherries in the dish in an even layer on top of the sponge.
3. Follow the instructions on the packets of jelly powder using the syrup from the cherries, topping up with water as necessary. I find it best to initially heat about 150ml/¼ pint syrup, then stir in the powder until well dissolved and finally add the remaining syrup and water. Adding ice cubes rather than water helps to set the jelly quickly.
4. Pour most of the jelly liquid gently into the bowl, leave to set, add the remaining jelly liquid and leave this to set as well.
5. While the jelly is setting, make up a pint of custard, varying the amount of sugar used according to the sweetness of the base layer. Leave to cool.
6. When cool and the jelly set the custard layer can be added on top of the jelly. If it is too hot, or the jelly not fully set, you may get a striped or marbled effect: not so pretty but it will taste fine.
7. To serve: Whip the cream and add evenly on top of the custard. Grate the chocolate using a cheese grater (for larger curls use a potato peeler) and add in a broad band on the cream around the edge of the bowl. Place the 8 reserved cherries evenly round the edge on top of this layer.