Once upon a trifle

I sound like a broken record when I say how unbelievably hot London is these days?

We went into town this morning to pick up some stuff (pampers, wipes etc.) and at half ten it felt like the sun was peeking down the back of our shirts quite literally.

Anyway, so even though I’ve had a remarkable and far more successful attempt at this one quite a few times, this was the only time I took pictures! So I thought I’d share this favourite recipe of mine.

I’m a sucker for making everything from scratch.

I don’t like store bought stuff. Having said that it doesn’t mean I never buy off the shelf solutions. They’re great when you’re cornered with time constraints but if I have time and energy, I love creating stuff from scratch.

Like how I love making the Pound Cake and the Lemon Curd myself for this trifle. I promise you the store bought ones don’t stand a chance.

Once in back in Pakistan I’ll make it again with our (one and only available) version of cream and my electric beater to whisk it to form soft peaks.

And our Vanilla essence. We aren’t spoiled by all this real stuff what is this Vanilla Bean Paste and how do I use it?

And my landoora oven which doesn’t have any gas marks visible but I know what goes where.

And my measuring cups. How I missed them. My cousin didn’t have any. Or a whisk. So we had to buy the thickest possible cream so it would set but then I couldn’t mix sugar into it. Well I eventually did, with a wooden spoon but it was tough.

Also F is still in Pakistan and my one year old has just learned how to hug my legs. Also she now picks up crumbs just the way I do and rushes to the waste bin. Cheeky mutt. She just wants to get inside EVERYTHING and explore.

Having said that, this is the most decadent summer celebration I can imagine.

I love it. So much.


Pound Cake: Unsalted Butter for greasing pan

1.75 cup all purpose flour (maida)

1.5 cup Blueberries

1 cup fine granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt. (If you don’t have this available, just hang normal yogurt in a fine cloth overnight or even a few hours. Or perhaps put it in an earthenware pot (mitti ka pyaala overnight) voila. Greek yogurt is ready. )

0.5 cup Olive oil

0.5 teaspoon vanilla extract. A few drops of Vanilla essence and God alone knows how much Vanilla Bean Paste. I don’t trust anything that looks like a Hakeemi Ma’ajoon. Too much childhood trauma attached to Tayyabi ki Shahi man. Sorry. I’m still recovering

3 eggs.

Curd: so here’s the fun stuff. You can have any citrus curd for this. Grapefruit curd is great but I did a lemon curd which is safe and boring. Please be exciting and do a Calamansi curd or something.

1.5 cups sugar

0.75 (three-fourth) cup freshly squeezed Citrus (here lemon) juice.

1.5 teaspoon Cornstarch or Cornflour (if you’re using cornflour make sure you cook it out well).

0.5 teaspoon Salt

2 eggs plus 3 yolks

4 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 teaspoon lemon or grapefruit zest (Optional)

Stewed Cherries: I see the big fat juicy cherries here and NOTHING happens to my heart. NOTHING. Because we have recently started getting the incredible Hunzai Cherries across the country, back home. No fear. Hunza is here.

Here’s what you need for preparing the Cherries.

1.5 lbs or 4 cups Cherries stemmed and pitted. Which will take the will to live away from you. Unless you’re as entertained by a one year old as I was. Here goes.

Cherry One: baby hugs legs and looks up with those big brown eyes 2 number larger than the rest of her face.

Cherry two: baby stuck to my hip looking carefully at cherries and knife.

Cherry three: Baby lunges for a pit (matlab. Cherry hee khaa le bongi.)

Cherry four: Baby tries to pull knife to cut the pit. (Genius)

Cherry Five: Baby back on the floor feeling dejected but looking for interesting crumbs.

Cherry six: basically Cherry One all over again.

Get the picture?

0.25 (quarter) cup fine granulated or powdered sugar

2 tablespoon unsalted butter.

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon cornstarch (see above if using corn flour)

0.25 (quarter) teaspoon Salt

Citrus Pastry Cream: 2 cups heavy cream (yayyyy desi Cream ke dabbay)

2 tablespoon Confectioners sugar

Lemon / citrus curd.

To Assemble!

Pound cake cubes

Citrus Pastry Cream

1 cup Blueberries

Stewed Cherries

0.5 cup Pistachios- roughly chopped

0.5 cup cherries – stemmed and pitted.


1. Make the Pound Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the sugar, mashing slightly to release some of the juices. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to macerate.

– in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl whisk together Yogurt, olive oil, eggs and yolks, Vanilla.

Stir in the macerated Blueberries followed by the dry ingredients. Mix till everything is silky smooth!

– Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake until golden brown. Around 1 hour, plus 10 or 15 minutes.

Please remember to keep peeling toddler off the oven door. Every 25 seconds.

Once ready. Let it cool completely to cut into one inch cubes. Keep a few slivers to bribe the baby. It’s not super sweet and she gets distracted for like 12 seconds too!

2. While the Pound Cake bakes make the Citrus Curd

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, grapefruit juice, cornstarch, salt, eggs and egg yolks until smooth, then place over medium heat.

Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, then stir in the butter and lemon or grapefruit zest until smooth. Lick the spoon and introduce the baby to the addictive part of baking. Always lick the spoon.

Cool over an ice bath. Then chill until firm, 2 hours.

3. Make Stewed Cherries

n a medium saucepan, combine all the cherry ingredients, except the cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the cherries soften (8-10 minutes)

Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of juice from the cherry mixture until smooth. Then add that to the pot. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until thickened, 2 minutes, and remove from the heat to cool over an ice bath. Feed the baby some ice chips and see their face, purely for entertainment purposes.

4. Makes the Citrus Pastry Cream

In a large bowl, combine the cream, confectioner’s sugar and salt, and, using an electric hand mixer, whip to stiff peaks.

If you’re stuck in a British household that neither believes in whisks nor cups for measurement, use a wooden spoon and beat the life out of that cream. Or out of your arm. Same difference.

Set 1.5 cups of the whipped cream aside. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the curd until smooth.

Of course I was working in a non cups environment so eyeballed it to be 75% of the mixture instead of 1.5 cups.

5. Assemble the trifle.

In a 3-quart trifle bowl, layer

– one-third of the pound cake cubes,

(Feed baby some more pound cake)

– followed by one-third of the citrus pastry cream,


– 0.25 (quarter) cup of the blueberries,

(Make the baby bite into a blueberry. Never give them whole. Choking hazard. Also let her squish some in her hands. Must be a giant war victory in toddler world)

– one-third of the stewed cherries and

– 2 tablespoons of the pistachios.

Repeat this layering process 2 more times to fill the trifle bowl. Spread the reserved whipped (or stirred, if you’re as sad as I am) cream over the top layer and garnish with

– the remaining 0.25 (quarter) cup of blueberries,

– the remaining 2 tablespoons of pistachios

– and the halved cherries. (I made the mistake of using stewed cherries at the top this time because I didn’t have it in me to put more cherries with a baby trying to play whack -a-mole with them and it bled into the cream. Don’t be silly like me. )

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. I usually make this a day or at least five hours in advance so it can be properly chilled through.

A semi happy baby and a lovely trifle is finally ready despite the constant attack from toddler world to foil this attempt at baking.

I have conquered! For roughly 6.25 seconds. Then we move on to another battle of course. Scratch the sticker off Khala’s bag.

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