I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. The prospect of chocolate before breakfast, countless mugs of mulled wine, Michael Bublé’s Christmas covers on repeat and twinkling trees gives me all types of feels. I become an incurable romantic about Christmas, jumping on the excuse to dive head-first into anything and everything festive with zero apologies.
However. There is a thing or two about the star-anise soaked occasion I do not adore. The frontrunner of my protests is the humble, nay omnipresent, traditional Christmas fruitcake. Yes, even dousing it in a ghastly spirit and setting it ablaze for kicks does not warm my cockles. Topped with icing and holly it sure makes for a cute emoji, but that is the extent to which I wish to flirt with it. It just does not set my taste buds alight.
“But if no Christmas cake then you simply go without dessert on the festive day?”, I hear you ask. Do not worry, of course dessert still features after our girth-expanding Christmas meal. Enter a peach and panettone trifle, topped with cream and sozzled in sherry. I happened upon a recipe three years ago when wondering what to do with a gifted panettone and it has featured on the menu ever since. The combination of light fruit, decadent cream, traditional panettone and a nod-towards-the-oldies sherry has slotted in aptly alongside the brandy snaps and after eight mints. As per any trifle there are a couple of easy-to-achieve layers including a custard which is simple to make. I have made a couple of experimental yet successful changes to the original recipe and enthusiastically suggest you give it a twirl this season.
40 minutes prep, + refrigeration time. Serves six.
- 2 x jars of peach slices
- 1 x panettone
- 6 egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 900ml double cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp sherry
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp orange zest
1. Thickly slice the panettone, and spread in a generous single or double layer in the bottom of a trifle dish. Don't stack it too high, as you do not want the bottom to be dry. You might not use it all.
2. Open the peaches, and separate the fruit from the syrup. Pour about half the syrup over the layer of panettone. Cover it well, but not so much that they become soggy. You can also add some of the sherry here if you fancy. Fan the peach slices on top and set aside.
3. To make the custard, mix together the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
4. In a heavy based saucepan, melt together 600ml of double cream and the vanilla extract. Do this slowly, stirring frequently so that the cream does not burn on the bottom. You want to heat it right up until it is about to boil.
5. Take the cream off the heat, cool slightly and gradually add to the sugar and yolk mixture, stirring constantly.
6. Clean the saucepan, and then add the combined mixtures to the pan and heat over a medium temperature until thick.
7. Let it cool, and then pour onto the panettone and peach layer. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Whip the remaining 300ml of double cream with the sherry and icing sugar. This can then go into the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Spread it out on top of the trifle, and sprinkle the orange zest to finish.
9. This dessert is best served at room temperature, accompanied by awful one-liner Christmas cracker jokes and paper hats. Merry Christmas!
With love, Kate