Sunday is Mother’s Day. In a calendar packed with ‘days’ commemorating anything from The Pancake to The Voting Rights of the Lesser Spotted Purple Possum, this is one of the few that I actually do agree with. Mothers are special. They deserve it. My mum has sadly been gone for ten years, but if she were at my table this Sunday, I’d make her this Black Forest trifle. OK it’s not strictly a trifle, bit it is prettily layered in teeny glasses. What it really is, is a deeply chocolatey chocolate mousse of sorts, layered with cherries and topped with cream – all the things I love so much about Black Forest cake, in a glass.

It’s incredibly simple but deeply luxurious. As with all simple but luxurious things, excellent ingredients are non-negotiable – high cocoa content proper chocolate, fantastic cherry compote and fresh cream from happy cows.

For the chocolate, a minimum 70% cocoa content is called for. My go to is Lindt. For the cherry layer you could cook fresh or frozen cherries with a bit of sugar to form a luscious compote. I take the short cut and open a jar of Bonne Maman Cherry Preserve. You can actually taste and see the fruit and the texture is just perfect, very compote-like. It is pricey because it is French, but their preserves are exquisite, there is nothing local that beats it. (SA jams/preserves/conserves are by and large fruit concentrate and sugar and pectin laden atrocities. Just total rubbish, but that’s a post for another day.) And of course Bonne Maman means ‘good mom’, so there’s that!

You can make this Black Forest trifle on the day, but it needs three hours in the fridge, so bear that in mind in your planning. Or you could make the mousse layer the previous day and top it with the final two layers just before serving.

All you need is…

100g slab of Lindt 70% or 80% cocoa content chocolate
1½ cups fresh whipping cream (375ml)
2 Tbs espresso/strong black coffee
teeniest pinch of salt
1 egg white, at room temperature
2½ Tbs castor sugar
bottle of Bonne Maman Cherry Preserve (Woolies stocks it)
extra chocolate gratings or cocoa for dusting to decorate

Place half a cup of the cream, 1 Tbs castor sugar, a very small pinch of salt and the coffee in a saucepan and heat until just before it boils. While the cream is heating, give the unopened chocolate slab a hard whack or two on your kitchen counter. (It smashes the chocolate into teeny shards in two seconds. No knife required. Could it be any easier?!) Remove the hot cream from the heat and pour in the chocolate shards. Let it sit for a few seconds and then stir it until the chocolate is completely melted into the cream. Allow the mix to cool to room temperature.

Use a handheld electric whisk to whip another half a cup of ice cold cream until firm. Use a spatula to fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mix. Whisk the egg white (in a spotlessly clean glass or stainless bowl with clean whisk attachment!) until the egg whites are foamy with soft peaks. Now slowly pour in a tablespoon of castor sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks – ergo, the egg white peaks hold their shape when you lift out the whisk. Use a spatula to gently fold the egg white into the chocolate mix. Spoon the mix into small serving glasses, filling them two thirds of the way. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, spoon a tablespoon of Bonne Maman Cherry Preserve into each glass. Whisk the last half a cup of cream with half a tablespoon of castor sugar until firm and dollop onto the jam layer. Grate over some chocolate or dust lightly with cocoa powder. You could serve this just as is, but if you want some crunch contrast, serve store-bought chocolate or almond biscotti alongside. Happy Mother’s Day!




30 min




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