The intense fruitiness of port is the key flavour in this dessert, but port’s second cousin, sherry, is used in the custard for two reasons. Sherry is the traditional flavour in trifle, but its pale colour makes for an attractively coloured custard where port, while tasty, would turn the custard a grey colour. This recipe makes individual trifles in dessert or wine glasses, but can also be prepared in a trifle bowl, using the same method of layering.
For cake, preheat oven to 300°F and grease an 11 x 17-inch jelly roll pan and sprinkle bottom & sides with sugar, shaking out excess.
Beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Add lemon zest and extracts. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift flour with salt and baking powder. Stir in flour alternately with buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spread to level and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester inserted in the canter of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool for 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.
For custard, whip cream to medium peak and fold in vanilla. Chill. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, sherry and lemon juice over a pot of gently simmering water until doubled in volume and holds a ribbon when whisk is lifted. Remove from heat and whisk in mascarpone until smooth. Fold in whipped cream and chil/l until ready to serve.
For port glaze, simmer port with sugar, cinnamon stick and peppercorns until shiny and reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Toss prepared fruits together with 4 Tbsp of glaze and let macerate for up to 30 minutes before serving.
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut pound cake into 12 to 16 circles. Either on a plate or in a suitable glass, place 1 disc of cake. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of berry mixture and dollop custard on top. Drizzle port glaze over cream and fruit. Repeat this process once more. Garnish with a sprig of mint or berries.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.