If you watch Love’s Kitchen (soppy but enjoyable) you will see that the chef-hero of that film uses his signature trifle as a kind of calling card – he wins over doubting, cynical people (potential staff, critics etc) with just one taste of this magic dessert. In goes the spoon, out comes a scoop of the potion, into the mouth it goes, and WHAM! A look of pleasurable surprise lights the face, and they hurry to try a second scoop just to check they haven’t been mistaken and it’s all been a wonderful dream.
This pudding also has that effect, but in real life. I wasn’t aware of it initially, I was just innocently trying out an idea torn from a colour supplement. I served everyone a generous piece and left the remaining cake just to my right on the table. But I quickly became aware that the young man on my left, not a person known for greed, was wanting something. “Can I have another piece?” he was asking, somewhat urgently (he may have feared that I was about to clear the cake away). Meanwhile the others around the table had that delightedly astonished expression that kept cropping up in the film. It was a bit hammy the film, so it was bizarre to see that this expression actually occurred in real life.
The credit for this wonderful concoction goes to Chris Honor. Like the hero of Love’s Kitchen Honor has also worked with Gordon Ramsay (Ramsay has a cameo role in the film). Honor is an Australian-born chef who has set up his own cafe, Chriskitch in Muswell Hill. In 2016 a cookery book he’d written featured in The Sunday Times, and I dug up the cutting including this recipe some six years later.
I’ve changed the quantities to fit normal packet sizes, adding a considerable amount of fresh berries to give even more of a WOW factor.
Magic berries torte with pistachio and a touch of rosewater
Serves – 8
- 750g/1 lb 10 oz mixed fresh berries
- 500ml/2 cups double cream
- 1 tsp rose water – no more, or it will start to taste like a tart’s boudoir and the cream will go sloppy. OR, I use creme de cassis.
- 400g/14 oz/2 packets of All Butter biscuits
- 130g/⅔ cup golden caster sugar
- 200g/7 oz natural shelled pistachios, mostly chopped with a couple of tablespoons left over for garnish
- 4 tbsps thick pomegranate molasses
- Take about two-thirds of the mixed berries, hull any strawberries, and slice anything large (no need to slice raspberries, blackberries or blackcurrants for example!)
- Whip together (using an electric whisk) the cream, sugar and rosewater until lazily stiff – it just holds its shape.
- Divide the biscuits into three. Use one-third to line the bottom of a 22cm/8” springform cake tin, roughly breaking the biscuits up to enable them to fit and cover the base.
- Spread over them about a quarter of the cream.
- Spread over that about a third of the sliced berries and about a third of the chopped pistachios.
- Drizzle over a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. Repeat twice more – a layer each of biscuits, then cream, then sliced berries, then chopped pistachios, then a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.
- Then a fourth layer of cream, and a fourth tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.
- Then put the lot in the fridge, covering with clingfilm to protect against other smells there might be in there. Leave it there for a minimum of four hours or overnight.
- Serve straight from the fridge, decorated with the remaining berries and pistachios.