Image by Kenwood, with permissionI may love Easter more than Christmas as Christian school holidays go. I know this might be controversial. Hear me out. (Most reasons are chocolate and present buying related for those wondering if this is a rather unusual Christian themed blog post):
- There's more chocolate about on a volume basis. Okay most of it is plain and shaped like an egg, but that reduces the risk of eating a strawberry crème so frankly, I'm okay with it. Plus excess chocolate eggs, bunnies and the like can be ceremoniously melted down on the last day of the Easter hols to be made into brownies for Mummy to enjoy at elevenses. If you snooze with the egg eating, the bunny gets it).
- There is less expectation, so of course less stress. If you burn Christmas dinner the family will talk about it for years (and you will have to smile and laugh light heartedly and pretend you find it funny being the butt of the joke when really you want to cry and hide under the stairs and drink some gin), but if you serve raw lamb/burn dinner to a crisp or forget to make gravy on Easter Sunday no one cares a jot. They really don't. They just shrug and ask what's for pudding. Perhaps this is the problem with Christmas Day. Everyone knows what's for pudding and most people don't even like it.
- No turkey curry to 'get through'. Food should not be an endurance test.
- Present buying is cheap as chips, or, well, Easter eggs. No child expects more than an egg at Easter. (Do they? I hope not...)
- Present buying is executable in one shopping trip to the local supermarket. Bung one egg per child in the trolley and done.
- Present buying is reserved for people under about 15 only. You do not need to buy your husband or wife or mother or father an egg. Even if Hotel Chocolat do very nice novelty grown up Eastery chocolate gifts. Resist. Just eat the eggs of a small child you own or know.
- Present buying uses little imagination. All you have to think is 'Would Charlie watch Star Wars or Scooby Doo if given the choice?' Once you know the answer you pick the egg. If you don't know the child well then buy a Buttons one. Or don't buy one at all. Personally, I feel if you don't know what TV programmes the kid likes you clearly don't know them well enough to spend money on them. What a simple rule for life.
- Gifting small inexpensive presents mean there's less chance of being made to teach small people to ride their new bikes/scooters etc. Yes, what a misery I am but really, I like to save these kind of endeavours for the summer. I feel the cold terribly you know.
- Easter weather is unpredictable. One year (I think it was 2013) we had snow at Easter in Leicester. Yes, snow! My sons have never forgotten it. They made a snowman and drank marshmallow spiked hot chocolate and made glittery Easter eggs at my pal Anuszka's house who is altogether more fun than me and also more tolerant of glitter. Unexpected weather brings out the best in Brits. We love it. Christmas is always grey and a bit rainy.
- Less present wrapping (ie/ none) means you can use the time better to make an elaborate pudding like this trifle. I dare you to make it. It's good.
Ingredients:For the jelly:
- 2 lemons
- 4 leafs of gelatine
- 1 tbsp freeze dried raspberries
- 60g self raising flour
- 60g castor sugar
- 60g butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 20g icing sugar
- 50mls Limoncello
- 350g fresh raspberries
- 35g butter
- 70g castor sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 100mls double cream
- 350mls whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 5 tbsp cornflour
- 100g castor sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 600mls double cream
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp freeze dried raspberries
Juice the lemons using the Kenwood attachment and pour into a jug. Make the liquid up to 570mls using cold water then remove 100mls to soak the gelatine in. Once soaked for 10 minutes heat the gelatine and water in a small pan on a low heat until the gelatine has dissolved. Then add to the rest of the liquid along with the dried raspberries. Stir and leave for 30 minutes then strain through a sieve to remove the raspberries. Leave to set in the fridge.
To make the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3. Beat together the flour, castor sugar, butter, egg, baking powder, zest of the lemon and milk in the Kenwood using the K beater for about 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Divide between 4 cupcake cases and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until well risen, golden and a toothpick comes out of the centre clean.
Poke holes in the cupcakes. Heat the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small pan until dissolved and then pour over the cupcakes. Leave to cool.
To make the curd:
Place a pan of simmering water over a medium heat and place a heat proof bowl over the top, being careful that the water doesn't touch the bowl. Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice into the bowl and whisk. Stir until completely dissolved then add the eggs and whisk intermittently for 10 minutes until the curd has thickened. Chill in the fridge.
To make the custard:
Heat the cream and milk in a large pan until the edges are just beginning to bubble. In the meantime whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Once the liquid is ready whisk into the thick egg mixture stirring all the time then transfer back to the pan and heat on the hob, stirring with a wooden spoon until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Chill with the top covered in clingfilm (touching the custard) to stop a skin developing.
Slice the cakes and layer in a 2.2 litre trifle dish. Pour the Limoncello over the top and then cover with the lemon curd. Add a layer of fresh raspberries then add the almost set jelly. Leave to set in the fridge. Then add the cold custard. Lastly whip the cream to soft peaks with lemon zest using the whisk attachment of the Kenwood and spoon over the custard. Sprinkle freeze dried raspberries to decorate.