Quince and madeira syllabub trifle
- December Christmas 2013
- Serves 8, with leftovers
- Takes 50 minutes to make, 2½-3½ hours to cook, plus cooling
Quinces can be hard work to prepare, but your efforts will be rewarded with a gorgeous wintry, festive dessert such as this quince and madeira syllabub trifle.
- 32.1g fat (18.8g saturated)
- 7.9g protein
- 43.4g carbs (33.7g sugars)
- 0.7g fibre
- 0.3g salt
For the syllabub topping
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 100ml madeira
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 60g caster sugar
- Fresh nutmeg for grating
- 400ml double cream
For the quinces
- 1 lemon
- 4 ripe quinces
- 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
- 4 whole cloves
- 200g caster sugar
- For the custard
- 350ml double cream
- 350ml whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 medium free-range egg yolks
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 75g caster sugar
- 400g madeira cake
- 8 amaretti biscuits
- 150ml madeira
- 3 tbsp brandy
- Toasted flaked almonds and strips of candied orange peel to decorate
- Start by making the base for the syllabub. Whisk the lemon zest and juice together with the 100ml madeira and the 3 tbsp brandy. Cover and leave to infuse while you poach the quinces.
- Heat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Cut the lemon into quarters. Peel the quinces, quarter and remove the core using a sharp knife. (Be careful, they will be very hard. If the core won’t come out easily, leave it in until the quinces are cooked, then remove when cooled.) Rub the quinces all over with the juicy side of one of the lemon quarters: this will prevent them from discolouring. Put the quinces into a roasting tin with 400ml water. Add the cinnamon, cloves and the 200g sugar. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon quarters and drop the lemon pieces into the pan. Cover tightly with foil and put in the oven. Cook for 2½-3½ hours until the fruit is soft and has turned a deep peachy auburn. Leave to cool in their juices, then cut out any remaining cores.
- Meanwhile, make the custard. Put the cream and milk into a heavy-based saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds into the pan, then add the pod. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar. Bring the cream to a gentle simmer, then pour, with the vanilla pod, onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Return to the pan and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens – it should thickly coat the back of a spoon. Leave to cool.
- Break the cake into pieces and arrange in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Crumble the amaretti over the top, then sprinkle with the 150ml madeira and the final 3 tbsp brandy. Top with the quince quarters and spoon over 100ml of the poaching juices.
- Dollop the cooled custard over the fruit, then put in the fridge.
- When the custard has firmed up (it won’t be totally solid), whisk the 60g caster sugar into the syllabub base. Add a grating of nutmeg. Add the cream and whisk until it just holds its shape. You don’t want it too thick or it will be difficult to spread. Smooth the cream over the custard. Decorate with the almonds and the candied peel, then cover and chill until needed.
Quinces are in season in late autumn through early winter.
You can cook the quinces to the end of step 2, then keep them in the fridge, covered by poaching juices, for up to 3 days. The leftover trifle will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days – great as a naughty breakfast!
Ripe quinces are firm but aromatic; depending on when you buy them, cooking time will vary, so check after 2½ hours. They should be soft, like poached pears. If you can’t get hold of quinces, use peeled, quartered and cored comice or williams pears. Cook in the same way for 20-30 minutes, then reduce the syrup until thick, sweet and flavourful.
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