Sometimes it’s difficult to be really creative and out there with dishes when you have to cater for a crowd; especially a crowd consisting of fussy teenagers who blatantly refuse to try something if they’ve never heard of it before. I really wanted to create an extravagant christmas dessert with macerated fruits, homemade jelly, praline, etc, but also wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it. And so I came up with this Christmas Trifle/Ice-Cream Cake concoction. Every year, mum makes her famous trifle but this year dessert was relegated to me and I didn’t want to move too far away from the good old trifle. My favourite part of a trifle is the booze soaked sponge, usually done with sherry but can be done with any liquor you prefer. I chose spiced rum because it’s delicious, and also because I already had a bottle after making the Spiced Rum and Marmalade Glazed Ham.
All the beautiful berries that are around at this time of year instantly make this dessert look beautiful, and with the added touch of the frosted mint leaves and cherries, it looks so pretty! If you want, you can use any type of ice-cream, nuts, fruits or chocolate that you prefer. You could really go crazy with a tropical theme using mango, passionfruit and coconut liquor, or go dark with chocolate sponge, dark chocolate and hazelnut liquor. I also found that with the shape of mould that I used, I had some pieces of sponge and a bit of ice-cream leftover, so I used these to make mini ice-cream cakes in muffin tin moulds, they looked really cute.
500g jam filled sponge roll
2/3 cup spiced rum
2 litres good quality, vanilla ice cream, softened
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup morello cherries, drained and chopped
220g block white chocolate
1/3 cup thickened cream
3 red and white, mint flavoured candy canes
Mixed berries, such as cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries
Handful of mint leaves
1 egg white, whisked
1/4 cup caster sugar
Line an 8 cup-capacity pudding tin, saucepan, bowl or any deep dish that you wish to use, with cling wrap. Cut sponge rolls into 1.5cm slices and lightly dip in the rum. Reserve 6 slices. Line the base and sides of the prepared pan with the remaining slices, pressing into one another to form a solid lining.
Chop 1/3 of the white chocolate into roughly the same size pieces as the pistachios and cherries. Stir the chopped white chocolate, pistachios and cherries through the softened ice-cream and spoon into the sponge lined pan. Level with a spatula and press the remaining 6 slices of sponge into the top, pressing lightly. Cover with cling wrap and place in the freezer overnight.
To make the frosted mint leaves and cherries, dip each quickly into the egg white and then lightly coat with the caster sugar. Leave on a plate to dry for at least 2 hours.
To make the candy cane crumbs, freeze the candy canes for about an hour, chop by hand or crush in a mortar and pestle. Keep in the freezer until needed.
To make the white chocolate ganache icing, place the remaining 2/3 white chocolate and the cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly but don’t let it go hard.
Remove the cake from the freezer and turn out onto a plate. Pour half of the chocolate ganache over the top, allowing a small amount to run over the sides. Return to the freezer for half an hour. Remove from the freezer and pour the remaining chocolate ganache over and return to the freezer again for another 15mins or until ready to serve.
Decorate with the mixed berries, frosted cherries, mint leaves and candy cane crumbs.