I teased the idea of a traditional Christmas trifle months before we could ring in the festivities, but something about each one of my layered ideas screamed sweet, and was a far cry from what I want to see on my table this time of the year. A couple of coffees down, a slice of buttered stollen, and several gingerbread crumbs later, I finally had it- I wanted to work with pineapple in some way.
The trifle starts off fairly basic- I would jazz up store-bought sponge with a soak of pineapple, dark rum and spices, left to stew so the flavours mull beautifully together. This would then be offset by a rich custard of coconut milk, finished with a pillowy top of white cream, again with a touch of rum. When you’re picking a sponge for this trifle, you want to choose a sponge cake that you like that doesn’t taste of synthetic vanilla. I would also enjoy this trifle with a Rawa Cake from Bangalore Iyengar’s, though I would imagine that the trifle would then heavier than it already is.
Obviously things did not go as planned. I found that when I stewed the fresh fruit, the resulting juice ended up being a bit bitter, and so I decided to up the sugar, and let it all turn to a light caramel in the pan before splashing in the rum and the lime juice. In this way, I still get a beautiful pineapple and rummy flavour that warms my insides but also makes me feel like I’m at the beach.
You will need a 1 litre trifle bowl.
Readymade sponge 100g, cut into large chunks
Caster Sugar 150g
Pineapple about 1/4 of a whole pineapple, about 3 slices give or take
Pineapple juice 3 tbsp
Pomegranate seeds 50g
Lime 1, juiced
Dark Rum 30ml
Coconut milk 200ml
Caster sugar 30g
Egg yolks 2
Cornflour 1 heaped tbsp
Powdered gelatin 1 tsp
Dark Rum 2 tbsp
Dairy cream or whipping cream 150ml
Caster Sugar 25g
Dark Rum 3 tbsp
Lime 1, zested
Storebought Peanut chikki
Start by making the custard. Gently heat the coconut milk till it begins to steam. Whisk together the caster sugar, the egg yolks, cornflour together in a bowl. In a steady stream, pour the warmed coconut milk into the bowl whisking constantly to incorporate. In a double boiler setting (a pan of just-simmering water, not boiling hot, underneath and a pan, in this case, with the custard that fits snugly on top, but doesn’t touch the water’s surface) heat the custard through stirring constantly till it thickens. This process should take ten to twelve minutes. Take it off the heat and add in the gelatine powder and mix.
Put a clingfilm on the surface of the custard and leave it at room temperature to cool. Chill and move on with the rest of the pineapple.
In a frying pan, heat the sugar over low heat till all the suggar has dissolved. Resist the urge to stir the frying pan. Wait till all the sugar has dissolved and turned a deep reddish brown. At this stage you don’t want it to go too far and become bitter so moving quickly, add the pineapple pieces and the juice and stir the pan to coat. Bring this up to a simmer so that the caramel loosens a bit and splash in the lime juice, the pomegranates and the rum. Stir to combine, taste for any additional sweetness and take it off the heat. Let it cool.
Arrange the sponge cake pieces at the base of the trifle bowl and pour this soak over it. Let this sit together until you work on the cream.
By hand or using a hand-mixer, whip the dairy cream over ice or frozen whipped cream (thawed for five minutes before adding) together with the lime zest, the rum and the sugar till soft floppy peaks form.
Get the custard out of the refrigerator and stir it, then add it above the soaked cakes and dollop over the cream. Let this chill in the refrigerator together for a minimum of an hour before you serve. When serving, garnish with storebought peanut chikki and pomegranates on top.