Simon Hopkinson’s sherry trifle recipe

Serves 4, with plenty of second helpings
raspberry jam
amontillado sherry 125ml
frozen raspberries 250g

For the sponge cake
eggs 2, weighed in their shells
salted butter the weight of the eggs, softened, plus a little extra for greasing the cake tin
caster sugar the weight of the eggs
self-raising flour the weight of the eggs, sifted
baking powder 1 level tsp

For the custard
full-fat milk 150ml
double cream 200ml
egg yolks 6
caster sugar 1 tbsp
vanilla extract 1 tsp

To finish the trifle
double cream 300ml
caster sugar 1 tbsp
crystallised violets

Preheat the oven to 160C fan/gas mark 4.

Start by making the sponge. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs until frothy then add the other ingredients all at once and beat until thick and pale; the mixture should just flop off the whisk and should be of a dropping consistency.

Line the base of a small (approx 18cm x 4cm), non-stick and loose-bottomed cake tin with a circle of baking parchment and grease the sides with butter. Pile in the sponge mix, level it off with a spatula and bake for about 30–35 minutes, or until springy to the touch of a finger.

Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for a minute or two, then turn out on to a cake rack. Remove the parchment and leave to cool. Cut the sponge cake into small, thick fingers and spread with raspberry jam. Arrange in the base of a glass bowl (approx 2 litres capacity) and pour over the sherry. Sprinkle over the frozen raspberries (frozen are best here, as their juice will also soak into the sponge as they defrost). Put to one side while you make the custard.

To make the custard, warm the milk and cream in a pan over a low heat. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract until frothy. Add the milk to the yolk mixture and whisk together. Return to the pan and, using a wooden spoon, stir over a very low heat until it begins to thicken; watch it carefully, and alternate between the spoon and a whisk, to prevent scrambling the custard. The finished look of the custard should be wobbly and thick. Immediately pour it over the sponge and raspberries, then shake the bowl a little to allow the custard to seep down within the pieces of sponge. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then place in the fridge so that the custard firms up – at least 2 hours or so.

To finish the trifle, whip together the cream and sugar until loosely thick (take care not to over-whip) and pile on to the set custard. Smooth the surface and decorate with the crystallised violets.