An extravagant & indulgent Christmas dessert, this Raspberry & White Chocolate Trifle is a tribute to four very special women.
Well look at me – getting all organised, just like a real food blogger, with another Christmas recipe up and ready to go. And it’s not even December yet! I know I’m the queen of lazy cooking – a quick look through the recipe index shows a preponderance of recipes that take 10-20 minutes to prepare – but even I make a little more effort at Christmas time. I like the season’s food to be a bit special and this Raspberry & White Chocolate Trifle definitely fits the bill for an extravagant Christmas dessert. The slight tartness of the cranberry jelly is the perfect foil for the silky richness of the white chocolate custard. After all if things aren’t a little over the top on this day, it’s really just another meal isn’t it?
The food in our house was pretty basic when I was a child but there were occasional culinary high points and Christmas was one of them. Every December, in order to give my grandmother a much needed break, my sister, brother and I were dispatched to spend a week or two at the beach with our great-aunts – four aging, childless, single women who lived a frugal life of quiet order and dutiful contemplation of their faith.
Looking back with the hard-earned wisdom of my years, it is now clear to me that these women were saints. Every year they would turn their peaceful lives and tranquil homes upside down in order to accommodate three, initially very young, and boisterous kids. The cost of feeding three extra mouths for a couple of weeks must have taken a significant effort to factor into a limited budget, especially given their very modest resources. On what I now realise must have been a shoe-string budget they not only accommodated us, but devoted themselves to the task, making extraordinary efforts to amuse, educate and indulge us on a daily basis.
This was not a holiday the three of us really anticipated with unqualified pleasure. The joys of daily visits to the beach were to some extent tempered by the enforced afternoon quiet time, the prohibition on any television aside from the 7pm ABC news, the rigid observation of the many Catholic holy days and the evening family ritual of saying the rosary. On the other hand, Aunty Nell could cook – and she enjoyed baking. In fact, my undying fondness for chocolate chip biscuits is directly attributable to her and my very earliest culinary efforts were in their tiny kitchen under her tutelage.
The visit would end with a final, celebratory family meal on the day my mother would arrive to pick us up and where extra attention was paid to dessert. One of the favourite desserts for this special meal was, to me, a very glamorous concoction of preserved fruit, jelly, cake, custard and cream served in individual tall glasses – in a word, trifle. A simple enough treat as I can see now, but hugely impressive to an eight year old with limited experience of desserts outside of packet-mix custard, ice cream and stewed fruit.
The Aunts have been on my mind of late. They taught me how to play patience, which fork to use at dinner, kept me in school shoes and underwear and worried about my soul. I’ll never forget the kindness, generosity and love they showered on us for all of their lives and only wish I had been older, more mature and less self-absorbed before they died. I never really thanked them for all they did – and regret that most keenly.
So this recipe is for you, dear Aunties Win, Gert, Nell and Peg – with loads of love. Granted, this indulgent raspberry and white chocolate trifle is a long way from those parfait desserts, but it honestly has its feet planted firmly in that long-gone, humble little kitchen of yours.
Raspberry & White Chocolate Trifle
- 500 mls cranberry juice
- 150 -200 gms fresh raspberries
- 5 gold gelatine sheets
- 250 mls milk
- 250 mls cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 Tbs cornflour
- 150 gms white chocolate grated
- TO ASSEMBLE
- 1 pk mini jam rolls
- 150 gms raspberries
- 50 mls Cointreau
- 250 mls whipped cream
- Orange flower water
- 50 gms toasted flaked almonds
- Place gelatine leaves in cold water for 2 minutes, then squeeze excess water out. Stir them into hot (not boiling) juice until dissolved.
- Place raspberries in a single layer in a shallow dish and gently pour the jelly mixture over. Chill until set.
- KitchenAid Cook Processor - insert processor blade and add white chocolate. Pulse until finely grated. Set Aside.
- Remove blade and insert Stir Assist. Mix cornflour to a thin paste with a small amount of cold milk.Add to rest of ingredients, set heat to 90C, time to 8 minutes, Stir Assist speed 2.
- When completed check that custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If not process as above for 2 more minutes.
- Add grated chocolate, Stir Assist speed 1 for 2 minutes.
- Stove Top Instructions - Mix cornflour to a thin paste with a small amount of cold milk. Combine all ingredients, add cornflour paste and whisk to mix thoroughly.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until custard thickens and will coat the back of a spoon.
- Reduce heat, add chocolate and continue stirring until it is completely melted.
- Pour custard into bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allowing the film to rest on the surface of the custard - this will prevent it forming a skin. Refrigerate until cold.
- Break jelly up into pieces, each containing a raspberry and place in a layer in bottom of serving bowl.
- Slice jam rolls, line side of bowl with slices and layer over the jelly. Sprinkle liberally with the Cointreau.
- Cover with a layer of fresh raspberries, then a layer of the cooled white chocolate custard. Chill overnight, or for several hours at least.
- Just before serving add a few drops of orange flower water to the whipped cream and mix well, Cover the custard with the cream, decorate with fresh raspberries and toasted flaked almonds.