Martha Collison's orange & pomegranate trifle

This is a family sized, celebratory Christmas dessert combining sticky pomegranate syrup with juicy orange and a thick and luxurious orange-infused custard. Press the orange slices against the sides of the glass so you can see them clearly, nestled between the layers
 

  • Preparation time: 50 minutes + chilling
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serves: 16

Ingredients

3 large oranges
1 Madeira loaf cake, thinly sliced
50ml Cointreau
300ml double cream

FOR THE POMEGRANATE SYRUP
200g caster sugar
500ml pomegranate juice
1 large pomegranate, deseeded
Juice of ½ lemon

FOR THE ORANGE CUSTARD
100g caster sugar
75g cornflour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
Zest of 1 orange
4 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs, plus 2 medium egg yolks
600ml whole milk
600ml double cream
Sliced pistachio kernels and pomegranate seeds, to decorate
 

Method

1. Start by making the pomegranate syrup. Combine the caster sugar and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam from the top if it appears. After 15 minutes, stir in the pomegranate seeds and lemon juice and cook for a further 5 minutes. Pour the syrup into a small bowl and allow to cool completely before using.

2. To make the custard, whisk together the sugar, cornflour, vanilla, orange zest, eggs and egg yolks in a large jug until smooth. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until steaming but not boiling.

3. Gradually pour half the heated milk and cream over the egg mixture, continuously whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan containing the remaining milk and cream and heat gently, stirring until thickened. Whisk the custard until it is thick and creamy, then pour into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until cool.

4. To assemble the trifle, use a sharp knife to slice the top and bottom off each orange, then to remove the skin. Thinly slice the orange horizontally to create cross-sections and remove any white pith. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.

5. Begin layering the trifle by placing a layer of sponge at the bottom of a large glass serving bowl, preferably one with straight sides. Brush the sponge with Cointreau, then arrange half the orange slices around the edges of the glass. Top with a layer of syrup, making sure it peeks through the gaps in the orange, then pour over one-third of the custard. Repeat the process, starting with the sponge and remaining orange slices, until all the custard is used up. Top with a mound of whipped cream and sprinkle over the chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds just before serving.