Much has been made of the Platinum Pudding Competitiona competition launched in 2021 to invent the ultimate dessert, dedicated to Her Majesty the Queen, as part of the platinum anniversary celebrations.
Over 5,000 entries were narrowed down to five finalists, and the triumphant winner was Jemma Melvin, for her lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle pudding.
A trifle is generally quite simple: layers of cake diced or crumbled, often soaked in sherry, topped with juicy fruit or jam, custard, often a layer of jelly and whipped cream.
There are of course extended versions, but this one can take the cake. It contains seven separate elements, from the Swiss roll on the bottom, to the amaretti biscuits in the middle, to the white chocolate bark garnish – and the entire production is said to take over two hours to prepare and serve 20 people.
Although the recipe can easily be halved, and you can streamline the process by buying a few items instead of making them.
We talked about this now famous trifle on the Calgary Eye Openerand I made a slightly streamlined version, plated on a deep dish instead of the traditional straight-sided glass bowl.
Make your own little thing
A few notes on my own platinum trifle experience: The recipe calls for caster sugar, which is granulated sugar that is slightly finer, often referred to here as berry or bar sugar. It is not necessary – I used regular granulated sugar in the same amounts.
The recipe calls for double cream, which is about 45 percent fat. Whipped cream, which is around 35 percent, would be a replacement here. If you can find Vital Green Farms whipped cream, it’s 52 percent fat.
A jelly roll is actually quite easy and satisfying to make. This version calls for 9″ x 13″ inch jelly roll pans, but you should be able to get away with a similar sized cookie sheet. I used half a baking pan and only partially spread the batter. You can increase the volume of the ingredients by 1½, or even double it, to bake on half a baking pan.
I made very simple amaretti with a 2:1 ratio of ground almonds and pure maple syrup, but of course you can use Jemma’s recipe or buy them. For the custard, feel free to make a batch with Bird’s custard powder – I did!
A version of the official recipe on the Fortnum & Mason website asks for arrowroot to thicken the mandarin coulis and another does not. You need a little bit to thicken the mixture. I’ve used tapioca starch instead, or you can use cornstarch, but both need to be boiled for a minute to thicken.
Since I’m not a big fan of white chocolate, I made caramelized sugar shards instead. Heat about 1/3 cup sugar in a small skillet until it begins to melt, then swirl the pan frequently when it turns golden brown. Pour onto a parchment or foil-lined plate, tilt to a thin puddle, and let cool completely. Break into pieces and use as a garnish.
I discovered some candied ginger in my bakla, so I sliced some thin and sprinkled it on top. Toasted sliced almonds would be great too.
Feel free to sprinkle your lemon roll with sherry or an orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, if you like a boozy trifle.