My sister-in-law Eimear, a brilliant mother of four, kindly gave me the custard and praline recipe from her legendary trifles. I've strayed from the traditional trifle path and used pink rhubarb and a splash of Cointreau here. Oranges and rhubarb go so well together, the pistachios complete the Middle Eastern theme, but almonds can be used instead.
you will need
85g pistachio nuts, shelled & toasted
110g caster sugar
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Cointreau
1 packet of trifle sponge or 1 layer of a Victoria sandwich cake
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
500ml cream, softly whipped
First make the praline. Place the nuts and sugar in a heavy based saucepan over a medium to high heat.
Do not stir but leave the sugar to melt and turn into a brown liquid caramel that coats the nuts.
Carefully spread the mixture onto the back of a greased baking tray. Leave to cool and harden.
Cut the rhubarb into 5cm pieces and place in a saucepan with the water and sugar over a high heat. Let them come to a simmer to dissolve the sugar then immediately lower the heat.
Gently steam until the rhubarb is just done but still holds its shape.
Break the sponge into bite-sized pieces and arrange on the base of a large glass bowl. Carefully tip the rhubarb and its juices over the sponge. Sprinkle the Cointreau over evenly. Leave to cool.
For the custard. Mix 2 tbsp of the milk with the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and cornflour.
Place the remaining milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil, watching carefully. Pour the hot milk over the egg mix, whisking until smooth. Return to the pan and simmer until thickened.
Pour the custard over the cooled rhubarb. Once the custard is cool spoon the cream over as the final layer. Chop the praline into small pieces and sprinkle over the top.