Just because I can’t get enough of Christmas festivities, I have an early Christmas dinner at my house with my flatmates and usually 1 or 2 extra friends. It is an excuse for me to don my reindeer antlers, Christmas apron and force feed my guests food and Christmas carols until they just can’t take anymore. I only started this tradition last year with my current flatmates. Last year’s dinner was largely a triumph, although I will admit to overdoing the dessert portions and dancing to Queen hits in the early hours of the morning.
The hallmarks of a Legal Tart Christmas are that we have a Christmas cocktail and I make a Blackberry and Limoncello trifle for dessert. Other courses are subject to the individual preferences of the cook. This year our Christmas cocktail is a Pomegranate Martini.
I have mentioned Mutti’s much loved Tipsy Pudding before, this dessert is a Christmas highlight in my family and is in essence a trifle but without the jelly and with more alcohol than is probably appropriate on a holy day 😉 Trifles are a great dessert to make for dinner parties, because they can be made ahead and always look rather spectacular with all their layers. For me any chance to use Limoncello is to be seized upon as I do love this liqueur. It is absolutely essential that this trifle sit overnight. I can not stress this enough. The first time I made it I ate it that same day. I was rather unimpressed with the dessert and felt that the Limoncello was overpowering and there was no complexity to the flavours. However I had some more a day later and it was completely in love. I have been making this adapted version ever since.
I use blackberry jam, although the original recipe calls for blackcurrant as I find blackcurrant jam very difficult to find here in Sydney. I also used flaked almonds in the place of Amaretti, as I am not a huge fan of the Italian biscuit. Mutti’s trifle has flaked almonds on top and they were one of my most favourite parts of the pudding when I was a kid. I have also added cream to the top as there really isn’t a time when cream can not improve a dessert. You can use the sponge finger biscuits, ordinary sponge or madeira cake on the bottom. Just make sure any sponge or madeira cake is dried out rather than fresh. You want the sponge to hold its shape and soak up the liqueury juices.
What do you eat for dessert at Christmas?
Blackberry Limoncello Trifle
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Anglo Italian Trifle
- 1 Store bought square sponge cake cut into squares
- 250 gms blackberry jam
- 200 mls of Limoncello
- 750 gms of blackberries
- 2 eggs separated
- 100 gms of caster sugar
- 750 gms mascarpone cheese
- Flaked almonds
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 150 mls cream
1. Cut the squares of sponge in half and spread blackberry jam on one side before sandwiching back together.
2. Wodge and the bottom trifle bowl and continue until the bottom of the bowl in covered by a layer of sponge pieces, tightly fitted together
3. Pour limoncello minus two teaspoons over the sponge and sprinkle a small handful of flaked almonds and leave to soak while you get on with the remainder of the trifle.
4. Put blackberries into pot with remainder of the jam and the juice of the lemon and stir until warm and the blackberries are softening. Pour over the sponge.
5. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they thicken and turn pale yellow. Whisk in the teaspoons of limoncello followed by the mascarpone until combined and smooth.
6. Whisk the egg whites separately until firm but not stiff. Fold 1 spoon of egg white mix into the mascarpone mixture. Then fold that mascarpone mixture into the remainder of the egg whites and fold until combined.
7. Pour mascarpone custard on to the partially assembled trifle. Whisk the cream until thick and then spread over the trifle.
8. Toast another handful of flaked almonds in a dry fry pan and then allow to cool before sprinkling on top of the trifle.