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Diary and Notes
Just like everywhere in the entire world, Saturday night is party night here in Göttingen and my friend Ellie had a bash in a cellar, somewhere just outside of town. As such, today's blog is a bit of a mix in that I didn't actually make all my dinner, what with eating all the usual party food, but will be giving you a gift to treasure for always - the recipe for the greatest trifle known to mankind.
I'm not going to go into too much depth about the party food. I should point out it was a party thrown by a vegetarian for vegetarians, in a country that seems to be populated almost entirely by vegetarians. As such there is a zero probability that I will be eating anything like this again this year, so there's no way that this can cause my challenge to fail. The food was good, though I did get a bit of a yearning for a large piece of bloody steak, covered in bacon and topped off with a live oyster or two - just to prevent my arteries from unblocking due to an unhealthy absence of LDL cholesterol. Worth an honourable mention amongst the more usual pasta dishes, rice dishes, cheese, bread and cakes, was something I have never seen before and will probably never see again: A pumpkin pizza. It looked absolutely delicious - a bit like a giant Turkish delight cake, sparkling with pink and orange gems. It was definitely very well made and had been prepared with the sort of love only a true vegetarian can have for any of the less savoury varieties of squash that seem to have multiplied, triffid like, to take over vast swathes of market space around the globe. It was, however, made from pumpkin and tasted like pumpkin. In such pumpkinny matters, I like to remember the wise words of Barbara Bush and 'Just say no'. Wise words then and wise words now.
I should point out, I only had a tiny taste of this pizza and it was more of a tarte anyway, being made with pastry not dough. So it doesn't stop me eating pizza later in the year, OK.
Anyhoo, todays item. Now I made the claim that this is the greatest trifle known to mankind and I am willing to give five of my hard earned pounds to anyone who can send me a better trifle recipe. I first made black forest cherry trifle last christmas and have to say it's wonderful. Trifle is something that for some reason does not exist anywhere outiside of Britain. It was popular with the Victorians (who knew a thing or two about food) but has lately had its image destroyed by mass market trifles in boxes. A proper home made trifle has as much in common with the packet variety as the Taj Mahal to the Brighton Pavillion - they may in many ways resemble each other, but the scope and magnificence of one, far outshines the other.
I am convinced this particular trifle is the Taj of Tajs, the Mahal of Mahals. The flavours are inspired by that most delicious of cakes the black forest gateau (or Schwartzwelder Kirschtorte as it is known here). Please note however, it wasn't invented it in Germany but in England, where the trifle reigns supreme. All the ingredients are available in Britain and although an expensive desert it's definitely worth making for a special occasion. One final comment, some of the people at the party looked very confused when they saw what I'd brought. Some of them looked a little scared to try it, but those that did (except one who thought it a little 'strange') seemed impressed. I did get the feeling however that like Vaughan Williams, cricket and a pint of Old Rosie scrumpy, they may appreciate the beauty of our culture, but will never feel it in their hearts. In proof: my friend Ellie, being British, thought it was wonderful.
With regards the ingredients: You can make your own custard if you want, though some of the pre-made ones are pretty good and making good home made custard is no trifling matter. The bottled cherries can be bought for next to nothing at Aldi and Lidl's or you can pay more at a delicatessen. I've never seen them in the more usual supermakets. You can buy canned black cherries but they're quite expensive too. Jelly: I don't recommend using jelly in trifles. Much better tasting and texture-wise is to use jam. If the jam is heated you can pour it and when it cools it sets. No strange jelly texture and flavour through and through.
Chocolate sponge cake, kirsche liquour, black cherry jam, bottled or canned cherries, custard, whipping cream, dark chocolate, glace cherries.
Schwartzwelder Kirschtreiffel: Slice the cake and layer into a bowl. Pour over a good dose of kirsche liquour and have a sip to cheer you if the weather is cold. Place the cherries (lots of cherries), without juice, onto the cake. Put the cherry juice into a saucepan and loads of the jam and heat until the jam is melted. Into the mix add some more kirsche and pour over the cake. Put into the fridge tocool. When set, pour over your custard, then whip your cream and layer onto the custard. Grate loads of chocolate over the cream and then place some glace cherries on top in a random haphazard manner.