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English Trifle Question


ElsieD
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I have been making a few recipes from a new book I recently purchased, "Small Batch Bakes"by Edd Kimber.  Recently, I attempted to make "Mum's Trifle Made Mini".  It called for sponge fingers which I assumed were ladyfingers, as per the ones I used, pictured below.  That did not work out very well.  I remember thinking as I was making it, that the jam/sherry mixture wouldn't soften the lady fingers very much.  And it didn't, so we were eating rather hard chunks of ladyfingers.  Googling revealed that I should have used cake, typically sponge cake, though other recipes say yellow, vanilla, angel food cake, and a few others.  I have a simple question - does the type of cake really matter?  We are not cake eaters so rather than making one, I would like to buy something suitable.  Which should it be?

20221112_114938.jpg

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

does the type of cake really matter

It matters in as much as it needs to absorb the booze.  Ladyfingers should have worked just fine. Perhaps you did not use enough liquid. I know in the past we have used sliced jam roly-polys, poundcake (Nigella Lawson suggests drying it out overnight). But first, I think I would try using the ladyfingers with more liquid and perhaps setting them aside for a while to absorb the liquid. A good trifle is a boozy trifle. 

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11 hours ago, ElsieD said:

I have been making a few recipes from a new book I recently purchased, "Small Batch Bakes"by Edd Kimber.  Recently, I attempted to make "Mum's Trifle Made Mini".  It called for sponge fingers which I assumed were ladyfingers, as per the ones I used, pictured below.  That did not work out very well.  I remember thinking as I was making it, that the jam/sherry mixture wouldn't soften the lady fingers very much.  And it didn't, so we were eating rather hard chunks of ladyfingers.  Googling revealed that I should have used cake, typically sponge cake, though other recipes say yellow, vanilla, angel food cake, and a few others.  I have a simple question - does the type of cake really matter?  We are not cake eaters so rather than making one, I would like to buy something suitable.  Which should it be?

20221112_114938.jpg

 

American lady fingers are soft sponge cake, (Continental) European lady fingers are hard biscuits.  Not at all the same thing.  From the picture your lady fingers look hard.  Not what you want for trifle.  Toes are revered the world over, but nothing competes with American fingers.

 

Bake a proper genoise or use American lady fingers.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

American lady fingers are soft sponge cake, (Continental) European lady fingers are hard biscuits.  Not at all the same thing.  From the picture your lady fingers look hard.  Not what you want for trifle.  Toes are revered the world over, but nothing competes with American fingers.

 

Bake a proper genoise or use American lady fingers.


Are you certain this UK author is using “sponge fingers” to refer to American and not European lady fingers?

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2 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:


Are you certain this UK author is using “sponge fingers” to refer to American and not European lady fingers?

 

I'm no trifle maker but my mother always used hard ladyfingers in her trifles. Sponge cake would have turned to mush. She learned from my very British paternal grandmother. Sounds to me like @ElsieD's recipe is short on liquid.

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25 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I'm no trifle maker but my mother always used hard ladyfingers in her trifles. Sponge cake would have turned to mush. She learned from my very British paternal grandmother. Sounds to me like @ElsieD's recipe is short on liquid.


Yes, in the recipe header notes, he suggests crisp amaretti as an alternate or addition to the sponge fingers and calls for them to be “broken into chunks” which seems to me like it’s something fairly hard. 
Here’s the ingredient list:

E48DC405-E404-4484-ABC2-57E3024AC36D.jpeg.2593fd9bcd9938f79442205f79c46000.jpeg
He does call for thinning the jam with a little water but that’s still not a ton of liquid.  Though I suppose they’d soften somewhat over the 4 hr minimum chilling time. 

Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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The lady fingers pictured are pretty similar to the ones we get here in the UK (pretty sure ed Kimber is UK based too). Typical Supermarket ones tend to be a bit thinner but most seem to choose to stock the Italian style now. But this could be the issue if you counted out the fingers rather using the weight. Main thing is to ensure the fingers have enough liquid to just absorb and not drench so they don't turn to mush. 

 

but any type of sponge is fine, again just adjust the liquid content, we also used to use sliced swiss roll sometimes.

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  • 1 month later...

While my mother in law was the trifle Queen (no driving after a portion of her rum soaked délice) I use the following recipe for lady fingers (biscuits cuillère) in a number of desserts.  Should be fine for trifle if fed with sufficient liquid, rum or of your choice. My recipe is half of the original but gives plenty for a dessert that will serve 6 to 8 portions.

2 eggs, separated

60g caster sugar 

45g plain flour

15g corn flour

whisk egg whites adding caster sugar little by little as they firm up, continue to stiff peak meringue stage.

beat yolks together and then fold into meringue mix (about 15 seconds should do the job)

sieve flour and corn flour together and add to egg mixture in 2 batches using a spatula to fold the ingredients together 

transfer to piping bag and pipe to the shape you want using parchment on your baking tray.  I usually make a disk for the centre of my tiramisu cake and then pipe any left into “fingers”.  I think that I got about a half dozen fingers in addition to my 20cm disk last time

bake at 180c for 15 minutes.

leave the biscuits on the parchment to cool, they will then peel away easily.  They freeze fine and have a multitude of uses.

 

I certainly found this recipe on the Internet but the only note made says “Chef Sylvain”, unfortunately I have no memory of who this person is!  I do make better notes now including a full URL where relevant!

 

Not eaten trifle since we lost my mother in law some 15 years ago but her version was more than appropriate as a way to end a celebratory feast; she detested cooking but would produce a trifle for us every year.  Happy days!  

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