( SERVES 8 )
From Lauraine Jacobs's larder, this dessert is perfect for festive feasting. The trifle uses both stewed and fresh strawberries. The custard isn’t very thick, so if you prefer it thicker, use a commercial variety or one made with custard powder. Louraine first served this at a family Christmas and it’s been on her menu ever since.
- Select about 12 of the best berries for the top. Put the rest in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of sugar and the water.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for about 2 minutes. Place the sponge(cut into fingers) in the bottom of a clear glass bowl.
- Add the Grand Marnier and allow it to soak in. Ladle in the strawberries and juice. To make the custard, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and thick.
- Heat the milk and vanilla bean in a heavy-based saucepan until almost boiling. Tip the hot milk onto the egg mixture in a bowl and stir well to combine.
- Rinse the pan that the milk was heated in, return it to the heat and strain the egg, sugar and milk mixture into it.
- Carefully reheat the custard, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon. Do not let this boil, as the mixture will curdle. If the mixture starts to curdle around the edges, immediately remove from the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth.
- Once the custard is cool, tip it over the strawberries. Finally, lightly whip the cream then spread it over the custard.
- Decorate with halved strawberries. Chill before serving.