Simply food


A trifle is to be the official pudding for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee after winning a UK competition to find a new dessert, beating out my brilliant Jubilee Mess.

The winner: Jubilee trifle [photo courtesy BBC]

A report by Mary O’Connor, BBC News, reveals the details.

Jemma Melvin made the lemon and Swiss roll amaretti dessert, inspired by the lemon posset served at the Queen’s 1947 wedding to Prince Philip. The trifle is made with layers of lemon curd and custard, St Clement’s jelly, a mandarin coulis, and amaretti biscuits. It will join the ranks of royal-inspired dishes like coronation chicken and the Victoria sponge. Some 5,000 people aged from eight to 108 entered the nationwide competition to craft a new pudding to commemorate the Queen’s 70-year reign, with entries whittled down to five finalists, who competed in a final show screened on BBC One.

Jemma, a copywriter from Southport, Merseyside, beat fellow amateur bakers Kathryn MacLennan, Sam Smith, Shabnam Russo and Susan Gardner in the special BBC program called The Jubilee Pudding: 70 years in the Baking, with the Duchess of Cornwall announcing the winner.

The competition was run by royal grocer Fortnum & Mason in partnership with the Big Jubilee Lunch Charity to create a pudding that had a memorable story behind it, tasted delicious, and was fit for the 96-year-old Queen. But the most important requirement was that it could be recreated by viewers at home ready for the thousands of street parties planned up and down the country in early June.

The finalists’ puddings were tasted by a panel of judges led by baking doyenne Dame Mary Berry, along with Fortnum & Mason’s executive pastry chef Roger Pizey, former Great British Bake Off winner Rahul Mandal, Masterchef: The Professionals judge Monica Galetti, author and baker Jane Dunn, self-taught pastry chef Matt Adlard and dessert historian Regula Ysewijn.

Jemma’s trifle was crafted with layers of lemon curd Swiss roll, St Clement’s jelly, lemon custard, a mandarin coulis made with tinned mandarins and amaretti biscuits, whipped fresh cream and crowned with more amaretti biscuits and a jewelled chocolate bark. After tasting the trifle, Dame Mary said it was ‘absolutely wonderful’ with Matt praising the ‘great, lip-smackingly sour’ taste combined with the cream and the texture of the amaretti biscuits. Roger praised the tinned mandarins used in the recipe, while Monica joked about how she might get the trifle home in a taxi.

My disqualified Jubilee Mess entry

Speaking to BBC royal correspondent Daniela Relph after her win, Jemma said her creation paid tribute to three important women – her grandmothers (known to her as gran and nan) and the Queen. She said while her gran had taught her to bake, the trifle was her nan’s signature dish. Asked how she felt on winning, she said: ‘I cannot believe it. Everything I was up against was the most beautiful desserts and puddings with beautiful stories. So that this quite humble trifle has won is quite surreal.’ Jemma said it was important to her that everyone would be able to make her trifle, so each element is ‘simple’ to make and can be substituted with shop-bought ingredients.

‘I wanted it to be the People’s Pudding, not just for the Queen, but the whole of the country,’ she added. She admitted it still hadn’t ‘sunk in’ that her pudding would be joining the ranks of historical dishes like coronation chicken and Victoria sponge. The sponge with buttercream and raspberry jam filling became an afternoon tea favourite of Queen Victoria’s. After her husband Prince Albert’s death in 1861, it was named the Victoria sponge in her honour. Coronation chicken, was created by the Cordon Bleu cookery school for the Queen’s Coronation Day banquet in 1953.

The runners-up included a Jubilee Bundt cake based on a Victoria sponge with lashings of the Queen’s favourite tipple, Dubonnet, a passionfruit and thyme frangipane tart, a rose falooda cake based on the Queen’s dedication to the Commonwealth and a four nations pudding using Scottish berries, Yorkshire rhubarb, Welsh cakes and Irish butter and cream.


Shopping list

For the Swiss rolls

  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 100g sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g self-raising flour, sieved
  • Butter, for greasing

For the lemon curd

  • 4 large free-range egg yolks
  • 135g granulated sugar
  • 85g salted butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 80ml fresh lemon juice

For the St Clement’s jelly

  • 6 gelatin leaves
  • 4 unwaxed lemons
  • 3 oranges
  • 150g golden sugar

For the custard

  • 425ml double cream
  • 3 large free-range egg yolks
  • 25g golden sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornflour
  • 1 tsp lemon extract

For the Amaretti biscuits

  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • 170g sugar
  • 170g ground almonds
  • 1 TBSP amaretto
  • Butter or oil, for greasing

For the chunky mandarin coulis

  • 4 x 397g cans mandarin oranges
  • 45g sugar

For the jewelled chocolate bark

  • 50g mixed peel
  • 1 TBSP sugar (optional)
  • 200g white chocolate, broken into pieces

For the final assembly

  • 600ml double cream

Preparation and cooking

  1. To make the Swiss rolls, preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Grease and line two Swiss roll tins with baking paper. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric hand whisk for approximately five minutes. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the flour. Divide between the two tins and bake for 10–12 minutes. Sprinkle some extra caster sugar on two sheets of baking paper then turn the sponges out onto the sugared paper. Peel off the paper from the underside and, while still warm, roll them both up from the short end into a tight spiral using the paper to help. Leave to cool.
  2. To make the lemon curd, place the egg yolks, granulated sugar, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until combined and whisk continuously as the curd cooks until thickened. This should take about 15 minutes. Pour into a clean bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. To make the St Clement’s jelly, soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for five minutes to soften. Using a vegetable peeler, peel six strips from a lemon and six strips from an orange and put these into a saucepan with the sugar and 400ml water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and discard the peel. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and stir into the pan until dissolved then leave to cool. Squeeze the lemons and oranges, so you have 150ml of both lemon and orange juice. Stir into the pan then strain the jelly through a fine sieve into a jug and chill until cool but not set.
  4. To make the amaretti biscuits, preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until firm. Mix the sugar and almonds gently into it. Add the amaretto and fold in gently until you have a smooth paste. Place some baking paper on a baking tray and lightly brush with butter or oil. Using a teaspoon, place small heaps of the mixture approximately two cm apart, as they will expand during cooking. Bake for approximately 15–20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. To make the chunky mandarin coulis, strain two tins of mandarins. Discard the juice and put the fruit into a saucepan with the sugar and heat gently until broken down. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, stir the arrowroot with two tablespoons cold water to make a paste, then add to the warm mandarins. Add the lemon juice and mix well before pouring into a large bowl. Strain the remaining two tins of mandarins and add the fruit to the bowl then leave to cool completely.
  6. To make the jewelled chocolate bark, if the peel feels wet or sticky, roll in the caster sugar to absorb any moisture. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Pour the white chocolate onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and scatter over the mixed peel. Leave to set then break into shards.
  7. To assemble, unroll the cooled Swiss rolls and spread with the lemon curd. Roll back up again and slice one into 2.5cm slices and place upright around the bottom edge of the trifle dish so the swirl is visible. Slice the other Swiss roll into thicker pieces and use these to fill the bottom of the dish, ensuring the top is roughly the same level as the slices that line the edge. Use off-cuts of sponge to fill any gaps. Pour the St Clement’s jelly over the Swiss roll layer and set it aside in the fridge to completely set. This will take approximately three hours.
  8. Once set, pour over the custard then arrange a single layer of amaretti biscuits, keeping a few back for the top. Pour over the mandarin coulis. In a large bowl, whip the double cream until soft peaks form then spoon this over the coulis.
  9. Crumble over the reserved amaretti biscuits and decorate with the chocolate bark shards.

Thanks to the Daily Express for the recipe and to BBC News for the story. What the BBC report doesn’t say is that the show itself, with no host, was flat and boring, according to The i news. My own observation was surprise that no British blokes made the final cut. Come on guys, get baking!

My truly brilliant Jubilee Mess entry was disqualified after it was discovered that I principally live in Canada. I will console myself by spending the Jubilee weekend in Chipping Norton in England’s beautiful Cotswold’s area of outstanding natural beauty, where my middle daughter lives and is laying on a suitable Jubilee feast. We shall pop in to Jeremy Clarkson’s popular Diddly Squat Farm Shop for truly local goodies.

For those who are perplexed as to the origins of St Clement’s jelly, dig deep into the memory banks and remember the old nursery rhyme: ‘Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement’s.’ The rhyme goes on to ring out all the bells you must hear if you are to be considered a true London Cockney. So, a jelly made with oranges and lemons.

Featured image: The five finalists with winner Jemma right (BBC/PA Media photo)

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