This isn’t really a trifle – it’s better! I’m not a lover of sweet jelly but I have a soft spot for raspberries, cream and meringue and am always looking for ways to reinvent them. You can use store-bought mini meringues and fresh edible flowers if desired.
Serves: 8 or more
1 egg white
2-3 dozen small unsprayed edible violets
2 egg whites
100 grams caster sugar
200 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
250 grams caster sugar
2 large (size 7) free-range eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten together
½ cup milk, warmed slightly (it should just feel warm to your little finger)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 punnets fresh raspberries
300ml cream, lightly whipped
2 cups lemon curd
100ml limoncello (optional)
freeze-dried raspberry powder (I used Fresh-As brand)
2 x 20cm sandwich tins, greased and lined with baking paper on the bottom and sides
Crystallised violets: Lightly beat the egg white with a fork. Working with one flower at a time, hold it by the stem and use a small paintbrush to brush each petal with beaten egg white. Drop the flower into a mound of caster sugar and use a small teaspoon to spoon over more sugar until the flower is completely covered. Lift it out and shake off excess sugar. Transfer the flower to a large, shallow container lined with baking paper.
Let the violets dry at room temperature for at least 12 hours, or for longer in an airing cupboard. When completely dry, trim the stems with small sharp scissors, then store in an airtight container.
Preheat oven to 120°C.
Mini meringues: Whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff and can stand in peaks on an upturned whisk. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and whisk in for 30 seconds. Sprinkle over the rest of the sugar and fold it in carefully with a large metal spoon.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain ‘éclair’ piping nozzle (the old ½” size) and pipe tiny meringues onto two trays lined with baking paper. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the meringues are crisp and will lift off the baking paper without feeling tacky. Swap the position of the trays once during cooking. Turn the oven off and leave inside until cool. Store in an airtight container.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Butter sponge: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Beat the butter until soft and loose, then gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until light and white in colour. With the machine running, gradually beat in the eggs, adding 2-3 tablespoons of the sifted dry ingredients. Stir in the remaining sifted dry ingredients alternately with the warmed milk mixed with the vanilla extract. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and gently smooth the top with a flat-bladed knife.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned on top and pulling away slightly from the sides of the tins. Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks lined with baking paper. Remove the lining paper and cool.
To assemble: Crush one punnet of raspberries (use the softest ones) in a bowl with 1 tablespoon icing sugar, to make a juice.
Put the lemon curd in a large bowl and stir then fold in the whipped cream with a large spoon. Don’t over-work it or the cream will go stiff and buttery. Leave the mixture streaky if preferred.
To assemble: Cut the sponge into small squares with a serrated knife. Transfer to a large baking dish and sprinkle with the limoncello. Soak for 5 minutes. Using a large glass trifle bowl, or elegant individual glasses, layer up sponge cubes, raspberries and juice, and lemon curd cream, ending with lemon curd cream. Top with the mini meringues and dust with icing sugar. Dust with raspberry powder and dot with crystallised violets. Serve immediately.