Spent all day Saturday making the pudding for a dinner party we were going to. Theme was 1970s so I’d decided my pudding was going to be Black Forest something. I just didn’t have a clue what the ‘something’ would be…It took FOUR attempts!
First attempt: individual Black Forest gateau. Individual I tell you! I didn’t rate the sponge; it was too dry and like forcing several cream crackers round your mouth with no access to water
Second attempt: a different Black Forest gateau recipe. Sponge was gorgeous but I didn’t rate the tinned cherries the recipe suggested: too gloopy and squidgy. Fresh cherries would have been too hard to cut into – didn’t want to run risk of them turning into missiles and ricocheting off the walls. Especially as the hosts had just had their dining room decorated.
Third attempt: individual Black Forest Pavlovas. Never made meringue before, and after this attempt never will again! It absolutely would NOT thicken. If I’d done the ‘hold bowl over head’ test I’d have been left standing in the kitchen looking like a cross between a melting Halloween ghost and a heated marshmallow. Poured them onto baking sheet – not a cat in hell’s chance of piping or shaping them as per the instructions. Went in the oven as meringue puddles – came out as meringue pebbles. Teens loved them as they were so gooey and, once they’d cooled, ate all 16. Then begged me to make them ‘wrong’ again
Fourth attempt: individual Black Forest trifles. Not so much ‘made by me’, more ‘assembled’ by me…
Trifle sponges – no I didn’t make my own. When someone’s gone to the trouble of making sponge, cutting it into the perfect size, popping it into a packet and selling it it’d be rude not to buy it.
Fresh cherries – heated and softened in black cherry jam (how clever!) No of course I didn’t make my own jam!
Custard – yes I did make my own custard. Well I say ‘make’…I opened a packet of custard powder and added milk & sugar to it. None of that messing around with vanilla pods and eggs malarkey!
Cream – whipped and mixed with icing sugar and cherry brandy. Yes I did manage to successfully combine these three ingredients myself!
Finished the trifles off with grated chocolate and a single fresh cherry on a stalk. How stylish!
They went down a treat: Nobody gagged on dry sponge, nobody got their teeth glued together with meringue and nobody had to clean the walls.
Now that’s what I call a success!