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Triple-whammy trifles: Swiss roll syllabub trifle



50g golden caster sugar

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves

juice of 1 lemon plus 2 strips of zest

200ml water

600g slightly under-ripe pears


400g jam swiss roll

2 tbsp medium sherry


finely grated zest of 1 orange plus 2 tbsp juice

a generous squeeze of lemon juice

2 tbsp medium sherry or brandy

120ml sweet wine

50g icing sugar

300ml double cream


2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

edible silver decorations


a trifle bowl about 20cm across and 8cm deep

  • Prepare the pears up to a day ahead. Place the pear ingredients except the fruit in a medium pan, bring to the boil and simmer briefly until dissolved into a light syrup. Peel and slice the pears thinly, discarding the cores. Add the pears to the syrup, submerging them, bring back to a simmer, cover and poach over a low heat for 5 minutes. Leave to cool then cover and chill overnight, allowing the pears to steep with the spices. When ready to assemble the trifle, drain the pears, discarding the syrup and flavourings.
  • Line the sides of the trifle bowl with slices of swiss roll cut 2cm thick, placed upright like wheels, then slice the remainder about 3.5cm thick and arrange in the base of the bowl. Splash the sherry over. Spoon the drained pears over and around the swiss roll slices.
  • Whisk together the syllabub ingredients, except the cream, in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the cream in a thin stream, continuing to whisk until you have a light and fluffy syllabub, which should be the consistency of softly whipped cream. Smooth this over the trifle. Cover with clingfilm without touching the syllabub and chill overnight. The syllabub will firm up and the juices will soak in.
  • Shortly before serving, decorate with pomegranate seeds and silver decorations of your choice.