This is a dessert that has been on my mind for quite some time, in fact for almost a year it’s been floating around in my brain, and sketched into notebooks. Toffee Apple Trifle, it just has a nice ring, doesn’t it? And it seemed like the perfect sweet ending for my Christmas in July lunch! I like the idea of a trifle, but I’ve eaten so many downright awful ones over the years that I really wanted this to be special.
I’m usually not into desserts that have a lot of components to prepare, but this is an exception and completely worth the effort. But if you’re running short of time, you can definitely use a store-bought sponge cake and some good quality store-bought custard. Don’t be put off by how long the recipe looks, each part comes together quite quickly and the whole trifle can be made in advance so there’s no need to stress once your guests arrive. Here’s a bit of a rundown of each element that went into this dessert:
Apple Cider Jelly – This was the star of the whole dish for me, and the one element that truly made it unique. While only a small amount of cider was used, it was clearly discernible but still subtle when all the layers were tasted together. I used Monteith’s Apple Cider because it’s not too sweet, but feel free to use your favourite. I also like Napoleone & Co and Rekorderlig. It has also inspired me to create some other boozy jellies, but more on that soon.
Brown Sugar Sponge – I’m just going to come right out and say that I’m not very good at sponge cakes. I think I was a little too rough with my folding so the finished sponge was not as light and fluffy as I would have liked, but I loved the brown sugar flavour. Maybe you’ll have more luck than I did.
Salted Caramel Apples – I kind of made up the recipe as I went along, simmering Granny Smith apple pieces with butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until I was happy with the taste and the apples were cooked through.
Vanilla Bean Custard – The perfect creamy accompaniment to round out all of the flavours. I flavoured mine with vanilla bean, but cinnamon or other spices would also be lovely. I topped mine simply, with some Persian fairy floss for a little bit of wow factor, and a lot of fun.
Toffee Apple Trifles
Note: You must begin this recipe 2 days before you wish to serve it
Apple Cider Jelly (adapted from Donna Hay)
Note: this recipe will make a little more than you need, so if there’s any leftover after you’ve filled your serving glasses, refrigerate the rest of the jelly separately for a nice treat
• 1 ½ tablespoons gelatine powder
• 1 ½ cups (375ml) apple juice
• 1 ½ cups (375ml) water
• ¼ cup (60ml) apple cider
• 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
Place the gelatine and ½ cup of the apple juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatine is absorbed. Place the remaining juice, water, cider and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add gelatine and stir to combine. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Evenly fill six glasses until 1/5 full and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.
Brown Sugar Sponge (adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
• 6 eggs, at room temperature
• 80g brown sugar
• 80g caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 150g plain flour, triple sieved
• ¼ teaspoon baking powder
• 60g butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Whisk eggs, sugars and half the vanilla seeds on high speed in an electric mixer until mixture is tripled in volume and holds a trail (10-12 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl, sift over flour and baking powder in two batches, gently fold to combine, then fold in butter. Divide between two 20x30cm brownie tins lined with baking paper and bake until dark golden and centres spring back gently when pressed (15029 minutes). Cool slightly in tins and then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, cut out circles the same diameter as your glasses and gently drop cake layer on top of jelly layer.
Salted Caramel Apples
• 4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 75g butter, cut into cubes
• ¼ cup cream
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
Place apples into a medium saucepan with brown sugar and butter and cook, stirring, until butter and sugar are melted and apples are starting to soften. Cover and cook over low heat until apples are tender. Add cream, stir to combine and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before dividing evenly among glasses. Refrigerate until required.
Vanilla Bean Custard (adapted from Donna Hay)
• 2 ¼ cups (560ml) pouring (single) cream
• ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
• 6 egg yolks
• 1/3 (75g) cup caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornflour
To make the vanilla custard, place cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Cover and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
Place the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the eggs and whisk to combine. Return mixture to the saucepan and stir over low heat for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla bean and allow custard to cool completely. Divide evenly between glasses and refrigerate overnight.
• Pashmak, Persian fairy floss (optional)
To serve, place a little bit of Pashmak fairy floss on top of each trifle and serve immediately.