Mom’s trifle in a jiffy
Puddings make for great endings, don’t you think? No meal for me and most of my family members is complete without the taste of something sweet. And one such charming dessert which is deceptively simple is my mother’s cake custard pudding, a layered dessert reminiscent of the English Trifle. Its sweet of course, comforting and best of all it is a great way to travel back to my childhood when my mother would concoct sweet treats, magically, out of the simplest food stuff at home.
The recipe today is from my last trip home around the new year, 2014. There was leftover cake from new year’s eve and we were short of dessert. So, my mother goes ahead and makes some custard and creates a beautiful medley of textures and flavour. Here goes, hope you will try it and cosy up with a bowl of deliciousness.
Prep time: 20 mins, active 10 minutes.
Servings: 4 to 6
Cake,( home-made/store-bought) about half a pound, roughly 7-8 medium slices.
Custard powder*, according to instructions,
Milk, according to instructions,
Sugar, according to taste/instructions,
Assorted jams to your liking.
*Can be substituted with Jello pudding mix.
Some of you, particularly those not from the subcontinent or from Europe, might find it a bit strange to see custard powder on the list here. Well, custard is made variously in different parts of the world and is also defined accordingly. While making custard from scratch can be done using eggs, milk and sugar and baking it like flan or working on it to create a thick confectioner’s custard; it also stands for a thick, creamy pudding, think the British Trifle, which might use starch as the thickening agent. In American terms think of the Jello pudding/pie fillings. Although, the custard that people from the subcontinent are used to does turn out better; jello puddings are a good substitute.
In case you are using Jello, then do not use the quick mix pudding. Instead use the ones requiring some cooking i.e. warming up milk and mixing in the powder. This is the process followed for custard too. If you want to try a hand at it, I would recommend getting custard powder from the nearest Indian/European or even if you are lucky an Asian grocery.
First, start with the custard/pudding. Follow the instructions for the mix you are using. Once done with the cooking, let it sit for a few minutes to cool. You can also make an ice bath for it to sit in while you assemble the base.
Use the bowl that you will serve the final dessert in and start by making a layer of cake. If the slices are too big or do not fit right, crumble them or cut them into smaller pieces. As long as it’s a layer of cake, all’s well. My mother used cake and dollops of assorted jams in between. This gives it’s a nice gooey feel when you bite in and great flavour too.
Finally she topped it off with the sitting custard. Now, if you have more cake and like a dense consistency, something that requires a real bite, layer on. You can do as many layers of cake with teaspoonfuls of jam here and there, finishing with the pudding. This goes into the fridge until its time to eat. If you really did make it last-minute, i.e. after dinner is over, put it in the freezer for a few minutes or not. This combination pudding can be served warm as well, especially on a cold winter night. But make sure the puffing is nice and thick. The cake, though, is absorbent and will soak up the moisture either way, making for a firm dessert.
Hope you will enjoy this simple and easy dessert with your family and loved ones.