My young cousin got married last week – congratulations, Mr and Mrs Hess! – and the young couple celebrated with a wedding trifle instead of cake, for the very good reason that it was their wedding and they like trifle better than cake.
My mother was also a lover of trifle, which she called ‘jollop’. She insisted on making a jollop every Christmas, no matter how much we begged – a very traditional British trifle, with dry sponge fingers at the bottom, covered with strawberry jelly and fruit, topped with yellow Bird’s custard and cream.
This has inspired me to offer the pudding-loving among the blog-reading multitudes the instructions on how to build a more Gothic trifle, a dark and brooding trifle, fit for the sensitive and angst-ridden. And those who just like pudding. It’s very good, and has been tested on the Price clan several times, in both tee-total and alcoholic versions. Bowls have been licked.
I follow my mother in putting it together from stuff readily bought at many retail outlets – so there’s no slaving over bowls of boiling cream and vanilla pods you had re-mortgage in order to afford.
It serves four, supposedly. I’d say that was arguable. I know people who could eat the whole bowl.
Gather around you the following ingredients:
1 tablespoon of instant coffee
1 tablespoon whisky. You can use rum or brandy, or even coffee liqueur, but everybody knows whisky is the best drink there is, and I always have whisky in the house, so I use whisky. You can also leave the booze out altogether, but it does add a tang.
250 ml boiling water – or a little over 8 fluid ozs
75g (2.5oz) brown sugar
Chocolate cake, broken into pieces. Make sure it’s a solid cake, even a bit stale, so it will soak up the coffee and whisky without dissolving. I was once unable, at short notice, to get the solider kind of cake and tried making it with soft little fairy cake things, which just became a liquid gloop at the bottom of the bowl. It was still eaten, but wasn’t as good as it should have been.
256g (9oz) marscarpone cheese
420 ml carton of ready-made chocolate custard
1 tblspn cocoa powder.
To construct – put the coffee and brown sugar in a bowl with the booze of your choice, if you're using booze. Add the boiling water and mix until dissolved. (Smells wonderful.)
Put the solid chocolate cake in the bottom of a bowl, and pour the coffee mixture over it. Leave the cake to soak up the sweet coffee and whisky.
Mix the chocolate custard and marscarpone together until smooth. Then pour it on top of the coffee and whisky soaked chocolate cake. (I’ve tried leaving the marscarpone out, but the result isn’t as good.)
Shake cocoa powder over the top. (You can chill the trifle, then cover it with a layer of whipped double-cream, and then cover with cocoa powder, if you like, which makes it even richer, but less Gothic).
Put the dish into the fridge and cool for at least 30 minutes.
You can, of course, divide all the ingredients up between small dishes to make individual jollops, which is probably less messy than ladling it out of one big bowl, but doesn't look as impressively dark and brooding when you bring it to the table.
Whisky, coffee and chocolate – it’s pretty good.