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Black forest butterscotch trifle with mascarpone cream

1kg cherries, pitted
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
Handful chocolate shavings, to serve

Chocolate sponge
3 free-range eggs
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
100g good-quality dark chocolate,
(60–70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur

Butterscotch sauce
3/4 cup (180ml) pure cream
3/4 cup (165g) brown sugar
50g unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
Mascarpone cream
3 free-range egg yolks
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch liqueur
200g mascarpone
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
2 tablespoons low-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 180˚c fan-forced. Line the base of a 20 cm cake tin with baking paper.
To make the chocolate sponge, use an electric mixer to whisk the eggs for 5 minutes or until well beaten and a little frothy, then add the caster sugar and continue to whisk on medium speed until thickened and pale.

Half-fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan without touching the water, and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.

Add the flour and cocoa to the egg and sugar mixture, then the melted chocolate, and combine. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean. Allow to cool, then prick the top of the sponge with a fork a couple of times and drizzle with the amaretto.

While the chocolate sponge is baking, place the cherries, sugar, lemon juice and 2 cups (500 ml) cold water in a medium-sized saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 25–30 minutes until the cherries are soft, then strain them, reserving the juice, and set aside. Pour the cherry juice back into the pan and add the amaretto. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the juice has reduced by a third and is very syrupy.

To make the butterscotch sauce, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5–8 minutes or until slightly thickened, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Divide the cooked cherries among your serving dishes and add a tablespoon of the cherry syrup to each one. Break the chocolate sponge into small pieces and scatter over the cherries, pressing the sponge right out to the edge of the dish. Pour a thin layer of butterscotch sauce over the chocolate sponge.

Place the dishes in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

To make the cream topping, use an electric mixer to whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together until smooth, then add all remaining ingredients and beat together to form a smooth cream. Spoon the cream topping over the chilled desserts and serve topped with chocolate shavings.