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English Apple and Almond Trifle with Calvados

Because I love trifle and am constantly challenged to find a new take on it, here goes. I have used an excellent ready-made custard myself, but if you want to be more purist and have the time, you can print off my Traditional English Custard recipe and go the whole hog. And by the way, sherry can be used instead of Calvados.

 English Apple and Almond Trifle with Calvados


 1 large Cox’s apple
 2 lb (900 g) Bramley apples
 2 oz (50 g) whole blanched almonds
 4 fl oz (110 ml) Calvados or 1/4 pint (150 ml) sherry
 2 oz (50 g) golden caster sugar, plus 1 dessertspoon
 5 trifle sponges
 1 x 500 g carton ready-made custard, preferably Tesco Finest
 1 x 250 g carton mascarpone
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Start off by peeling, coring and slicing (fairly thinly) the Cox’s apple, then place it in a small saucepan with 1 dessertspoon of caster sugar. Let it soften and release its own juices over a low heat for about 15 minutes, without a lid. The Bramley apples should be peeled, cored then sliced into a 2 pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin, sprinkling in the 2 oz (50 g) caster sugar as you go. Lastly add 1 tablespoon water, then put a saucepan lid or plate on top of the basin, place it on a baking tray and bake the apples in the oven for about 45 minutes or until they are fluffy.

Meanwhile, cut each trifle sponge into three and place the pieces in the base of a serving bowl. Stab them with a small knife then carefully pour the Calvados over each one to distribute it evenly. When the Cox’s apple is cooked and has cooled, drain off the juice and place the slices in amongst the sponges. When the Bramleys are cooked, remove them from the oven and beat them to a puree with a fork – they don’t need to be too uniform. Then while the oven is still on, toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 6 minutes (and do use a timer to make sure they don’t burn!).

When the apple puree is absolutely cold, you need to combine it with half the custard, then pour it evenly over the sponges. Now, in a bowl, beat the mascarpone to soften it, then combine it with the rest of the custard and spoon it carefully over the puree mixture, spreading it out evenly. Finally chop the toasted nuts – not too finely, they should still be a bit chunky. Cover and chill the trifle and serve it with the chopped nuts sprinkled over the top.


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