- 1 x 200 g vanilla sponge cake, loaf
- 1 cup sherry 1
- 50 g icing sugar
- 40 g toasted almonds, plus extra to garnish
- Toasted pistachio nuts to garnish
- Maraschino cherries to garnish
- For the poached fruit:
- 420 g caster sugar
- 1½ cups white wine
- 1½ cups white Port or Hanepoot
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 2 pears, peeled and cored
- 4 apricots
- 2 nectarines
- 125 g summer berries
- 8 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water
- For the crème pattisière:
- 2 cups milk
- 120 g caster sugar
- ½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
- 6 free-range egg yolks
- 40 g cake flour
- For the creamy cheese topping, whip together:
- 100 g mascarpone
- 1½ cups double cream
- 1 T icing sugar
Tear the sponge* into cubes and scatter over the bottom of a glass bowl or individual glasses. Mix the sherry with the icing sugar and drizzle over the sponge until nicely soaked. Scatter with the toasted almonds.
Arrange the poached fruit on top of the sponge and spoon over the cooled berry jelly. Chill for 2 hours, or until set.
Spoon the cooled crème pattisière over the jelly and return to the fridge. When ready to serve, pipe the cheese topping over the crème pattisière, sprinkle with nuts and garnish with cherries.
To poach the fruit, place the caster sugar, wine, Port or Hanepoot and vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to gentle boil.
Add the pears and poach gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Remove using a slotted spoon, slice and set aside.
Add the apricots and nectarines and poach for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the berries and stir gently, then add the gelatine and stir again.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile, peel the poached apricots and nectarines and slice.
To make the crème pattisière (pastry cream), heat the milk, 40 g caster sugar and the vanilla seeds until just boiling, then remove from the heat.
Place the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk until thick. Whisk in the flour, then pour a ladleful of the hot milk mixture into the egg-flour mixture and whisk well.
Pour the egg-flour mixture back into the milk and place over a low heat.
Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl, cover with clingwrap and set aside to cool.
*Cook's note: You can buy your sponge cake or make our easy hot milk sponge.