Pimm’s was invented in London in the 1800s and has become the ultimate English summer drink. The thought of a cool, refreshing glass of Pimm’s after work is often the only thing that gets many Londoners through the hot and sticky days of August, when the tube is like hell, only hotter and more crowded. I like to use Pimm’s in trifle, where it brings a sprightly fruitiness to all that custard and cream.
5 sheets of gelatine
50g caster sugar
Juice of 1 orange
250g sponge cake (such as Madeira)
500g strawberries, washed and hulled, plus an extra handful, sliced, to serve (optional)
700ml good-quality custard
600ml double cream
4tbs icing sugar
3tbs (heaped) lemon curd
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Mint leaves, to serve (optional)
Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and leave to soften for five minutes.
Meanwhile, make the jelly. Gently heat 200ml of the Pimm’s with the lemonade, caster sugar and orange juice in a saucepan over a medium heat, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is just about to bubble. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine, add the sheets to the Pimm’s mixture and stir until melted. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and put into the fridge for about two hours, until the jelly is nearly set.
Cut the cake into thin slices, around 1cm thick, and use them to line the bottom of a large glass bowl. Pour over the remaining Pimm’s and leave to soak for a few minutes. Quarter the strawberries lengthways and scatter over the top.
Take your cooled jelly from the fridge and pour it over the strawberries and sponge. Return to the fridge for one hour so to allow the jelly to firm up further.
Pour the custard over the jelly, then whip the cream, mascarpone and icing sugar in a bowl until it forms soft peaks. Gently mix in the lemon curd and the lemon zest and spoon onto the custard.
Decorate the trifle with the sliced strawberries and a few leaves of mint if you like. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.