Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Preparing a pudding fit for a queen
A look at the winning recipe of the Platinum Pudding Competition
Much ado has been made about the Platinum Pudding Competition, a contest launched in 2021 to come up with the ultimate dessert, dedicated to Her Majesty the Queen, as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Over 5,000 entries were narrowed down to five finalists, and the triumphant winner was Jemma Melvin, for her lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle pudding.
A trifle is generally fairly simple: layers of cubed or crumbled cake, often soaked with sherry, topped with saucy fruit or jam, custard, often a layer of jelly, and whipped cream.
There are elaborate versions, of course, but this one may take the cake. It contains seven separate elements, from the Swiss roll on the bottom, to the amaretti cookies in the middle, to the white chocolate bark garnish — and the whole production is said to take over two hours of prep time and serve 20 people.
Though the recipe is easily halved, and you could streamline the process by buying some of the items rather than making them.
We talked about this now-famous trifle on the Calgary Eyeopener, and I made a slightly streamlined version, plated on a deep platter rather than the traditional straight-sided, footed glass bowl.
Making your own trifle
A few notes on my own platinum trifle experience: the recipe calls for caster sugar, which is granulated sugar that's slightly finer, often called berry or bar sugar here. It's not necessary — I used regular granulated sugar in the same quantities.
The recipe calls for double cream, which is around 45 per cent fat. Whipping cream, which is around 35 per cent, would be a substitute here. If you can find whipping cream from Vital Green Farms, it's 52 per cent fat.
A jelly roll is actually quite simple and satisfying to make. This version calls for 9½ x 13½ inch jelly roll pans, but you should be able to get away with a similar-sized rimmed baking sheet. I used a half sheet pan and spread the batter only part way. You could increase the volume of the ingredients by 1½, or even double them, to bake on a half sheet pan.
I made very simple amaretti using a 2:1 ratio of ground almonds and pure maple syrup, but of course, you could use Jemma's recipe, or buy them. For the custard, feel free to make a batch using Bird's custard powder — I did!
One version of the official recipe on the Fortnum & Mason website calls for arrowroot to thicken the mandarin orange coulis and another does not. You'll need a bit to thicken the mixture. I used tapioca starch instead, or you could use cornstarch, but both will need to be cooked for a minute in order to thicken.
As I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate, I made caramelized sugar shards instead. Heat about 1/3 cup sugar in a small skillet until it starts to melt, then swirl the pan regularly as it turns golden. Pour onto a parchment or foil-lined sheet, tilt to make a thin puddle and cool completely. Bash into pieces and use as garnish.
I discovered some candied ginger in my baking drawer, so I thinly sliced some and sprinkled it overtop. Toasted sliced almonds would be great, too.
Feel free to sprinkle your lemon roll with sherry or an orange liqueur, like Cointreau, if you like a boozy trifle.