Rhubarb and Rose Trifle Recipe

Saturday, February 23, 2019
My entry for World Trifle Day 2018.
Trifle. What's not to like? Apart from mass produced shop brought ones of course. Trifle  deserves more - it can be elevated above a kids table staple. Do yourselves a favour and make your own sponge base, your own vanilla custard and then it turns the humble trifle into a confection.

Here's a classic dessert with no rules, apart from the ones you make yourselves, or are passed down the generations from aunts and grannies.

My aunt's famous trifle version was with candied stem ginger and the sponge base soaked in ginger wine. Custard, cream, then finished with crystallised ginger. Nice if you're a ginger fan like me! Gran's version was more traditional with sherry. 

If you like big desserts to share, these days we've kind of lost that sweet trolley way of serving in restaurants, so you need to make the magic at home instead. The good thing about catering in people's houses like I did from 2006 - 18 was that we could try things out that you wouldn't normally find in a restaurant. Restaurants have to stay on trend and worry about their reputation with every dish they serve. When you're catering in the house, there's more scope to just make things people like. 
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Reason Scientific
There's also a scientific reason behind the love for trifle. It is one of those Olde English desserts which you tend to find more in the autumn/ winter. It's as the nights get longer, and the hours of daylight shorter, our serotonin and dopamine levels fall. Trifle is full of dopamine and serotonin triggering ingredients - sugar, eggs (in the sponge and custard) and cream/ milk in the custard and whipped cream topping. Maybe chocolate too if you add that. Your brain remembers how good you felt when you ate it last time and craves it again to boost your mood. Why not make it today?

What is the difference between Victoria sponge and Genoise sponge?
Victoria sponge base is the most common sponge cake in the UK due to its ease (called pound or butter cake in the US) and it is aerated by whipping butter, sugar and eggs, then folding in flour. 
Genoise is more of a batter and heated while you beat the eggs over boiling water like sabayon. Beating the eggs over heat traps air in the batter which makes the cake rise as it bakes. This way you can use less fat (butter/ shortening).

Genoise Sponge
125g Plain flour
125g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
25g Butter, melted
1/4 tsp Vanilla paste

  1. Start off cooking genoise like hollandaise sauce - the eggs and sugar in a bain marie over boiling water, whipping with an electric whisk. This could take 6 - 7 minutes. 
  2. The egg and sugar should have trebled in volume and be pale and thick - like sabayon.  
  3. Take off the heat and fold in the flour, melted butter and vanilla. 
  4. Transfer into a greased and lined 23cm springform baking tin. Bake at 180 oC for 20 - 25 minutes. You can test the centre with a skewer. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.   
Image result for indian rose syrup uk
You can find rose syrup in your local Indian food shop
Rose Scented Roast Rhubarb
800g Rhubarb, cleaned and cut into chunks
150g Sugar
25ml Indian rose syrup

  1. Place the rhubarb in a deepish baking tin. Pour the sugar and rose syrup over and mix through.
  2. Roast for 15 minutes at 180 oC till soft. Allow to cool.  
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Crème Anglaise
250ml Milk
250ml Double cream
5 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 tsp Cornflour
2 - 3 tbsp Caster sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla paste (depending on strength of the one you use)

  1. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and cornflour. Heat milk and cream in a stainless steel pan* till just under the boil. 
  2. Pour cream mix into the egg yolk/ sugar and whisk together. 
  3. Pour back into the pan and put on a medium heat, whisking to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan/ makng lumps. 

Rose Chantilly Cream
500ml Double cream
25ml Rose syrup
2 tbsp Icing sugar

Whisk these 3 things together till you form soft peaks. 
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Rose Sugar
Granulated sugar
Rose syrup

In a mixing bowl mix a small bit of rose syrup through the sugar. It should turn pink. Tastes amazing too. 

Break up the sponge in the bottom of trifle serving dish. Spoon over the rhubarb and the roasting juice, reserving some rhubarb pieces to garnish the top.  
Spread the anglaise on top, then pipe the rose chantilly cream on top. Garnish with pieces of rhubarb, the rose sugar and rose petals. 

Rose Gin and Tonic
Add some rose syrup to your normal G & T. Beautiful summer drink!

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