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Swedish recipe of the week: Rhubarb trifle

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Originating from Britain in the 60s, trifle was popular in both Sweden and the UK at the time. Duxbury has decided to revisit this classic retro recipe and bring it up to date, adding a Swedish flare to it.

The combination of strawberries and rhubarb is common in Sweden, as the sweetness of the strawberries combines well with the tartness of the rhubarb. Ginger and orange are two other flavours that bring out the best in rhubarb, so much so that Duxbury virtually never cooks rhubarb without using both.

Though you can use the original topping of whipped cream on your trifle, Duxbury suggests trying a healthier version of reduced fat mascarpone and fat-free yoghurt, which gives the trifle a subtle sourness.

Summary

Serves: 12-16
Level: Easy
Preparation: 40 minutes (Plus 3 hours to cool)
Cooking: 20 minutes

Tips

Replace the topping with whipped cream if you are concerned about the risk of using raw egg, although the risk is very low indeed if you are using fresh organic free-range eggs.

The recipe below makes sufficient for a 2 litre (2 quart) trifle dish, sufficient to serve 12-16 people. Duxbury often makes a half quantity in 4 smaller trifle dishes. Each one is ideal for sharing between two people.

Choose crunchy ginger nut biscuits (cookies) or shortbread with steam ginger. (Swedish ginger biscuits, such as Annas Pepparkakor, are good for flavour, but they don't crumble very well.)

Ingredients

900 g (2 lb) rhubarb, washed and cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) lengths
4 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp potato flour (starch) or cornflour (corn starch)
2 larges oranges, zest and juice
300 g (10 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved
24 small sponge fingers (savoiardi)
3 tbsp orange marmalade
2-3 tbsp orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
150 g (5 oz) crunchy ginger biscuits, crushed

For custard
600 ml (2½ cups) whipping cream
6 egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp cornflour (corn starch)

Mascarpone topping
2 egg yolks
75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
500 g (2 cups) mascarpone, ordinary or low fat
300 ml (1¼ cups) Greek or Turkish yoghurt, ordinary or low fat

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, Gas 4, Fan 160°C).

2. Place the sliced rhubarb in a large roasting tray. Scatter over the orange zest and then spoon over the caster sugar and the flour (starch). Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool a bit. Add the strawberries when the rhubarb is still slightly warm and gently stir to mix.

3. Meanwhile, to make the custard, place the cream in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Whisk the egg yolks, sugars and cornflour (corn starch) in a bowl until combined. Gradually pour the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking until incorporated. Return the mixture to the pan over a low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Do not boil. Transfer the custard to a bowl to cool, covering with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.

4. Spread one side of each sponge finger with marmalade and stick them together in pairs to make twelve sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into four and place them in the bottom of the trifle dish(s). Pour the orange liqueur and the orange juice over the sponge sandwiches, leave to soften for a few minutes and then gently level the top of the biscuits.

5. To make mascarpone topping, use an electric mixer to whisk the egg yolks and sugar until tripled in volume (about 2 minutes). Add the mascarpone and yoghurt and whisk the mixture until evenly incorporated.

6. To assemble the trifle, pour the cooled custard over the sponge fingers, top with the crushed biscuits, add the majority of the rhubarb, but keep some back for a garnish, add the mascarpone topping and then garnish with the remaining rhubarb. Cover and chill for 2-3 hours, but then take out of the fridge 30 minutes or so before serving.

Other garnishes

Chocolate curls

Roasted pecan nuts (to roast the pecans spread them out on a tray and put them in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F, Gas 4, Fan 160°C) for 7 minutes)

A light dusting of cocoa powder

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of the Swedish Food website.

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