A Christmas Trifle Easier (Delia Smith)

This pudding can be summoned up at a moment’s notice. We tested several different custards and this one – though it may raise a few eyebrows – emerged as the winner. Double cream bought on December 23 or 24 will last through to the new year. Madeira is wonderful in trifle, but sherry is a worthy runner up.

  • 5 trifle sponges
  • 50g raspberry jam
  • 120ml Madeira
  • 150g frozen raspberries (Co-op or Waitrose)
  • 1 heaped tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 large bananas
  • 500g ready-made Ambrosia Devon custard
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 355ml double cream
  • 30g toasted flaked almonds

First of all split the trifle sponges in half lengthways, spread one half of each sponge with the raspberry jam and re-form them back into sandwiches. Cut each one across into three and arrange the pieces cut side uppermost in the base of a glass bowl.

Next carefully pour the Madeira all over the sponges, then set aside for about 20 minutes for the sponges to soak it all up (tilting the bowl a couple of times to encourage this). Meanwhile put the raspberries and the sugar in a small saucepan and cook them for 2-3 minutes till the raspberries have softened and some of the juices have been released.

Leave them to cool for a few minutes before spooning them all over the sponges. Now peel and slice the bananas into chunks (about 5mm thick) and scatter these all over the raspberries.

Next take two medium-size bowls and place the custard and vanilla in one bowl and the cream in the other. Whip the cream to the floppy stage – be careful not to make it too thick – then take one third and add it to the custard. Combine the two together, then spread this evenly over the fruit.

You now need to cover the custard with the whipped cream, and the best way to do this is to spoon some of the cream in blobs around the edge first so that it is touching the side of the bowl, and then gradually fill in more blobs towards the centre. When the custard is completely covered use the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least two hours (even overnight), and sprinkle with the toasted almonds before serving.

Wine choice Boal 10-year-old, Barbeito, Madeira, Portugal £25.50, Fortnum & Mason.

Like the crab tarts, this recipe affords the perfect opportunity to purchase and drink, rather than just cook with, one of the world’s great wines, Madeira. It is almost (but not quite, as your trifle will be greatly enhanced) sacrilege to cook with, so good is it. Fig, nuts, candied fruits, coffee – there is a bevy of flavours here to keep the palate occupied. The bottle will keep open for months.

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