FLAMBÉED ALASKA TRIFLE

In the Christmas spirit, KitchenAid and I gave away a hamper to the recipe that ticked every box for the perfect Christmas feast. Nina Lightfoot got me drooling straight away with this Flambéed Alaska Trifle. A touch of traditional trifle layered with Madeira cake and flambeed with a shot of brandy. Frankly I don't think I can wait until Christmas to make it again!  

You will need

    • Madeira Cake

    • 250g frozen blueberries

    • Buttermilk ice-cream

    • Caramelised white chocolate ganache
    • Italian Meringue 
    • 125ml brandy

    MADEIRA CAKE

    INGREDIENTS 

    • 120 grams unsalted butter (softened) 
    • 100 grams caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling) 
    • grated zest and juice of ½ a lemon 
    • 2 large eggs 
    • 150 grams all-purpose flour 
    • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder 

    METHOD 

    1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3/325ºF. 
    2. Butter and line a 20 cm cake tin.
    3. Beat the butter and sugar together using the flat beater in your KitchenAid Stand Mixer until it is light and fluffy, and add the lemon zest. 
    4. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour for each. 
    5. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour, to which you have added the baking powder. Add the lemon juice and mix until just combined. 
    6. Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 1 ½ tablespoons should do ) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 45min to1 hour - or until a cake-tester comes out clean. 
    7. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out. 
    8. Slice cake into 1 cm thick slices. 

    CARAMELISED WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

    INGREDIENTS 

    • 150g white chocolate 
    • Sea salt to taste 
    • 150g fresh cream 

    METHOD

    1. Heat the oven to 130°C. If the white chocolate isn't already in small chunks, chop it coarsely. Scatter it on a clean baking sheet. 
    2. Roast chocolate in the oven for about 45 minutes, stirring and smearing the chocolate around with a spatula every 5 to 10 minutes (make sure your spatula is clean and dry when you start). Don't worry if it looks lumpy and crumbly at times -- it will smooth out as you stir. 
    3. Continue cooking until the chocolate is a rich toffee color. Transfer chocolate into a mixing bowl. Stir in cream and sea salt to taste. 

    BUTTERMILK ICE CREAM 

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 egg yolks 
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
    • 1 cup cream 
    • 1 cup buttermilk 
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

    METHOD

    1. In a bowl whisk the yolks with the sugar until pale and thickened. Then set aside. 
    2. In a saucepan over medium heat bring the cream and buttermilk to a simmer.
    3. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine sieve into the egg mixture. 
    4. Return the cream mixture back to the saucepan and cook over very low heat stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. 
    5. Strain into a large clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold. 
    6. Churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's specifications. 

    ITALIAN MERINGUE 

    INGREDIENTS

    • 240g Castor Sugar 
    • 120g (4) egg whites 
    • 60ml water 

    METHOD

    1. In a small saucepan, combine 200g of the sugar and water. Heat over high heat, brushing down sides of pot as necessary with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cook until sugar syrup registers 120°C (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. 
    2. How to test without a thermometer: drop 1 teaspoon of the syrup from a clean spoon into a small bowl of very cold water (not ice cold). Quickly examine and carefully pick up the sugar from the cold water. Sugar should form a soft ball. 
    3. Meanwhile, combine egg whites and the remaining 40g of sugar in the bowl of a KitchenAid fitted with the whisk attachment. Set mixer to medium speed and mix until soft peaks form (when lifted, the head of the mixer should form gentle peaks in the egg whites that very slowly collapse back into themselves), about 2 minutes. 
    4. With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. 

    TO ASSEMBLE

    1. Spoon 2 tablespoon of brandy over the sponges.
    2. Spoon a thick layer of white chocolate ganache on the sponges and top with berries. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.
    3. Evenly smooth the base with 1 cup buttermilk ice-cream.
    4. Layer the cakes on top of each other. 
    5. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 
    6. Working quickly, pile the Italian meringue onto the cake and frost it using an offset rubber spatula. Using a kitchen blowtorch, toast the entire frosted cake. 

    TO FLAMBE THE ALASKA 

    1. Gently heat the remaining brandy in a small saucepan. Carefully set brandy alight and pour over the Alaska.