I bought this glass bowl just to make this trifle for Christmas. If chocolate custard and sour cherries and chocolate pound cake don't spell Christmas dessert, what does? In my mind, Christmas dessert should be indulgent, should be creamy, should be luscious, moist, decadent. Should make you feel guilty. Hence - cherry chocolate trifle. I must admit, I'm a sucker for Black Forest cake, so the ingredients in this pudding were a no-brainer. Even if you don't like Black Forest cake, however, chances are you'll fall head over heels over this one.
If you don't have a trifle bowl, like I didn't, try a large glass bowl. As long as your guests can see the layers of gooey, luscious, decadence, it will do.
Here's the recipe, as created by Nigella Lawson. You can also find it in her book "Nigella Feasts":
2 (approximately 12 ounces each) chocolate pound cakes
1/2 cup black cherry jam
1/2 cup cherry brandy
2 cups drained bottled sour cherries (recommended: Morello)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, minimum 70 percent cocoa solids, chopped
1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon milk
1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
3 cups heavy cream
1-ounce bittersweet chocolate
Slice the chocolate pound cake and make jam sandwiches with the cherry jam, and layer the bottom of a large wide trifle bowl. Pour over the cherry brandy so that the cake soaks it up, and then top with the drained cherries. Cover with cling wrap and leave to macerate while you make the custard.
Melt the chocolate on low to medium heat in the microwave, checking after 2 minutes, though it will probably need 4 minutes. Or you can place it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside while you get on with the custard.
In a saucepan warm the milk and cream. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl. Pour the warm milk and cream into the bowl whisking it into the yolks and sugar mixture. Stir in the melted chocolate, scraping the sides well with a rubber spatula to get all of it in, and pour the custard back into the rinsed saucepan. Cook over a medium heat until the custard thickens, stirring all the time. Make sure it doesn't boil, as it will split and curdle. Keep a sink full of cold water so that if you get scared you can plunge the bottom of the custard pan into the cold water and whisk like mad, which will avert possible crisis.
The custard will get darker as it cooks and the flecks of chocolate will melt once the custard has thickened. And you do need this thick, so don't panic so much that you stop cooking while it is still runny. Admittedly, it continues to thicken as it cools and also when it's chilling in the refrigerator. Once it is ready, pour into a bowl to cool and cover the top of the custard with cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
When the custard is cold, pour and spread it over the chocolate cake layer in the trifle bowl, and leave in the refrigerator to set, covered in cling wrap overnight.
When you are ready to decorate, softly whip the cream for the topping and spread it gently over the layer of custard. Grate the chocolate over the top.
I couldn't find plain chocolate pound cake at the grocery store, and didn't have the time to make my own, so I used a denser Belgian chocolate loaf cake. It worked just fine.
Would I make this again?
Yes, definitely, but only for a large group. This recipe can serve at least 16 people, if not more. It can be a lot of dessert for people who are used to just fruit and biscuits at the end of their meal.
Five stars out of five. Beautiful, delicious, indulgent. And it even tastes better the next day once all the ingredients have settled and fused together. How can you go wrong?