I’m proud of this invention: I think I might like it even better than the classic Nigel Slater 30-minute trifle I usually make. I used the same uncooked mascarpone-based custard, but the intense flavour of the apricots made it quite different.
For 8-10 servings:
8-10 boudoir biscuits or trifle sponges
2-3 tbs apricot jam
small glass Muscat, Monbazillac, or other sweet dessert wine
about a dozen ripe apricots (or you can use all dried apricots)
handful no-soak dried apricots
200 g caster sugar
For the cream:
100 g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
500 g mascarpone
ratafias or amaretti biscuits (optional)
candied peel (but not glacé cherries or bright green angelica please!)
Use a large glass bowl for this. Split the trifle sponges horizontally if using. Spread them or the boudoir biscuits fairly generously with apricot jam and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of the dish (break some up if necessary to fill gaps, and if there’s a few too many to fit, just pop them on top). Pour over the wine and set aside to soak.
Halve and stone the fresh apricots (quarter them if they are large). Bring the 200 g sugar to a simmer in a wide pan with 275 ml water, making sure all the sugar dissolves. Lay the apricot halves in it in a single layer and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes, turning once. Be careful! if you turn your back for a moment they will collapse into mush! You want them to be tender but whole. When done, lift out carefully with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool a little. Add the dried apricots to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, then cover and leave to soak for 30-40 minutes. Once drained, you can use the leftover syrup to make sorbet, or top it up with sparkling water for a refreshing drink.
Arrange the poached apricots on top of the sponges and slot the softened dried apricots into the gaps (you can use only dried apricots if you can’t get fresh).
Make the cream: whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, then thoroughly whisk in the mascarpone. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff, then fold into the egg yolk mixture. Pour this yummy cream evenly over the apricots. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Before serving, decorate with toasted slivered almonds and candied peel. If you have some amaretti or ratafias, so much the better; add these as decoration too.