Blood plums and chocolate pair really well, and for this trifle it's worth splurging out on really great dark chocolate. The plums' lovely tartness cuts through the rich crémeux and we've added Scotch for the boozy kick.
- 400 gm crème fraîche whisked with 300ml pouring cream and scraped seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- 150 gm dark chocolate (66%-70% cocoa solids)
- 175 gm butter, softened
- 165 gm caster sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
- 150 gm (1 cup) self-raising flour, sieved
- 10 ripe but firm black or red plums, halved
- 200 gm caster sugar
- 600 ml umeshu (see note)
- 4 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes
- 600 ml milk
- 200 ml pouring cream
- 100 gm caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 140 gm dark chocolate (at least 63% cocoa solids), chopped (see note)
- 1For cake, preheat oven to 175C, grease and line a 21cm springform cake tin. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then stand to cool slightly. Beat butter, sugar and a large pinch of salt in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (4-8 minutes), then add egg yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. Add melted chocolate and stir to combine, then fold in flour in batches. Whisk eggwhites to soft peaks, then fold through chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared tin and bake until a skewer inserted withdraws clean (40-45 minutes). Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack, then halve horizontally and set aside.
- 2For roasted plums, reduce oven to 170C. Place plums cut side up in a baking dish to fit snugly, scatter with sugar, pour over 100ml water and roast until sticky and a syrup forms on the base (35-45 minutes). Turn plums cut-side down in syrup, set aside to cool, then drain (reserve syrup) and transfer half the plums to a 2 litre trifle bowl.
- 3For jelly, bring umeshu, 1 tbsp plum syrup and 100ml water to a simmer in a saucepan, then squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- 4For crémeux, bring milk, cream and half the sugar to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Whisk yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl until pale, add hot milk mixture and vanilla, stirring continuously then return to pan and stir over low-medium heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon (15-20 minutes). Stir in chocolate until melted and smooth, then set aside, whisking occasionally until cooled.
- 5To assemble, top plums with half the chocolate cake, breaking off edges to fit, drizzle with whisky to taste, then pour over half the crémeux and freeze until firm (1 hour). Top carefully with jelly, then remaining cake, drizzle with whisky to taste, and then top with crémeux. Refrigerate until set (4 hours), then serve topped with vanilla crème fraîche, remaining plums and drizzled with plum syrup.
Note Umeshu is a Japanese liqueur made from ume, an apricot; it's available from Asian grocers. We used Caraïbe Noir, a 66% cocoa solid grand cru blended chocolate by Valrhona; it's available from Simon Johnson. If it's unavailable substitute a good chocolate with 63%-68% cocoa solids.