Strawberry Trifle

     My childhood trifles always included jelly, tinned fruit and a thick, hard layer of Bird’s custard under the whipped cream. I remember the smell rather than the taste of sherry and it’s that sweet boozy smell of custard, fruit and cake that so evocative however the trifle is made. This one is made with pale yellow Madeira cake, a lot of sherry, quickly made fresh strawberry jam, supermarket fresh custard, whipped cream and freeze dried strawberry sprinkles. Make it in sundae glasses or a glass bowl.

Serves 6

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 20 min

400g strawberries

150g sugar

1 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp lemon juice

6 slices Madeira cake

100ml sweet sherry

500g tub luxury thick vanilla custard

250g double or whipping cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

to decorate:

small strawberries

silver balls

     To make the jam, rinse the strawberries, remove stalk and leaves – quickly done with a small knife, cutting in a pointed plug shape, turning strawberry rather than knife. Quarter large ones, halve medium-sized fruit and leave small ones whole. Place in a medium-sized pan over a medium heat, with the sugar, balsamico and lemon juice stirring constantly until all the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil, stirring regularly in a figure of eight, for about 10 minutes until the jam looks thick and syrupy. Test by placing a teaspoonful on a saucer. Cool then push with your finger. If it wrinkles it’s done. If not, continue boiling for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool. Cut the slices of cake to fit the base of sundae glasses or a glass trifle bowl. Pour over the sherry to saturate. Spoon the cooled jam over the top and add the custard to cover. Use a globe whisk to whip the cream with the icing sugar by hand until it holds firm peaks. Spoon over the custard and decorate with small strawberries and silver balls.