Trifles are a joyous spectacle come Christmas time and are a most-welcome retro comeback. And this one is strictly adults-only, thanks to a generous touch of spiced rum. Sorry, kids!
1kg (2 lb 3 oz) cherries, pitted
600g (1 lb 5 oz) store-bought mud cake
60ml (2 fl oz) spiced rum
handful fresh cherries, stalks on
1 x 85g (3 oz) packet port wine jelly crystals
300ml (10.5 fl oz) boiling water
60ml (2 fl oz) spiced rum
300g (10.5 oz) white sugar
300ml (10.5 fl oz) water
100ml (3.5 fl oz) spiced rum
3 whole star anise
3cm piece (just over 1”) of ginger, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
600g (1 lb 5 oz) mascarpone cheese
200ml (7 fl oz) thickened cream
10g (¼ oz) icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
400ml (14 fl oz) sour cream
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the packet of port wine jelly, rum and boiling water. Stir well until all of the jelly crystals have dissolved, then leave aside to cool for 5 minutes. Entirely cover the bottom of the trifle bowl with cherries (about half of the total amount) and pour over the liquid jelly mixture. Place into the refrigerator for 4 hours or until set (you could also leave it overnight).
To make the cherry compote, turn a medium-sized saucepan on low heat. Add the sugar, water, rum, star anise, ginger and cinnamon to the pan. Bring to a simmer and continue gently simmering for about 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly. Add in the remaining cherries and turn the heat off. Give everything a gentle stir, making sure to leave the fruit intact. Leave to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, remove and discard the aromatics, leaving just the cherries and syrup
Meanwhile, let’s make the cream layer. Add mascarpone, thickened cream, icing sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric whisk, mix ingredients for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until very light soft peaks form. Add in the sour cream and gently mix for a further 30 seconds until ingredients are all incorporated.
Tear the mudcake into large chunks. Now let’s assemble!
Take the bowl out of the refrigerator with the set jelly. Spoon half of the sour cream mixture on top of the jelly layer and smooth out evenly. Add chunks of mudcake on top to cover the entire layer of cream mixture, followed by half of the cherry compote mix to moisten up the mudcake. Drizzle with rum.
Add in the remaining sour cream mixture and swirl around to create some peaks. Finally, top with the last of the cherry mixture and syrup. Scatter over additional fresh cherries for a final flourish. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.