If you aren’t using store-bought custard or cake for a trifle, then I would argue you are not a nostalgic person. Some things genuinely taste better when not homemade and trifle is one of those rare examples that truly benefits from a store-bought sponge.
You can make the jelly and quince ahead of time, then simply assemble the custard and cream on top just before serving.
Makes 6 individual trifles or 1 massive trifle
Photography: Laura Edwards
2 large quince
150g dark muscovado sugar, or to taste
1 slice of lemon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/2 vanilla pod, or to taste
21/2 leaves of gelatine
3 tbsps dry sherry (I use Leith’s Distillery)
250g Madeira cake, cubed (store-bought is best for this job, please and thank you!)
1–2 400g tins of good-quality custard
300g double cream
toasted flaked (slivered) almonds
crushed amaretti biscuits
dark muscovado – light
lemon – orange
Madeira cake – Victoria sponge; almond loaf; lemon loaf
Peel, core and slice the quince into wedges. Place in a shallow pan with the sugar, water, lemon and vanilla. Cover with a lid or a piece of greaseproof paper and simmer for 30–45 minutes over a low heat, or until the quince are soft and tender but still holding their shape. Spoon out the fruit and set aside.
Taste the remaining syrup, adding more vanilla or sugar if necessary. Measure out 225g of the syrup (top up with a little water or sherry if you are short). Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
Return the measured syrup to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Add the soaked gelatine and stir to combine. In your serving glasses or bowl, add the cake cubes and the cooled quince slices. You can slice the quince as finely or thickly as you like here. Spoon over the sherry, dividing it equally. Top up with the quince syrup. Place in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
Once set, spoon over your custard. Softly whip the cream (you can add more vanilla or booze with the cream) and gently spoon on top. Finish with toasted flaked almonds and some crushed amaretti biscuits. Eat immediately.
Throughout the various lockdowns over the pandemic, Flora began cooking up what she called #FridayFeasts using recipes from cookbooks, friends and her own, all to keep her going at a difficult time. The result was her third cookbook, Supper. Filled with beautiful photography and creative, delicious recipes for dinners, whether for two or for a crowd, it’s the perfect companion for slow, evening cooking. Supper by Flora Shedden (Hardie Grant, £22) Photography by Laura Edwards.