Al now owns De­pot, Fed­eral Del­i­cates­san and Best Ugly Bagels.

The cus­tard is ac­tu­ally white choco­late brûlée and I make a slightly spicy jelly with the plum juice and a gen­er­ous ad­di­tion of port. The plums and rhubarb bal­ance out the rich­ness per­fectly.


8 eggs

250g caster sugar 250g high-grade flour 100g un­salted but­ter, melted

Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. Pre­pare two medium spring­form cake tins with but­ter and a dust­ing of flour.

Break the eggs into the bowl of a cake mixer with the whisk at­tach­ment fit­ted. Add the sugar and turn on to medium-high speed. Beat for at least 10 min­utes un­til the mix­ture is light and airy and forms a thick rib­bon.

Scrape out into your largest bowl then sift in the flour and gen­tly but quickly fold through to just com­bine. Fol­low with the melted but­ter in the same man­ner. Pour the bat­ter into the two pre­pared tins.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 min­utes. Test the sponge by press­ing lightly in the cen­tre; it should gen­tly spring back. Re­move from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 min­utes be­fore turn­ing out on a wire rack. Keep in an air­tight con­tainer un­til re­quired.

WHITE CHOCO­LATE CUS­TARD 1 litre cream 100ml milk

200g sugar

1 vanilla bean, split 160g white choco­late,

coarsely chopped

10 egg yolks

Pre­heat the oven to 130°C. Put the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to the boil then re­duce to a sim­mer. Stir oc­ca­sion­ally un­til the sugar is dis­solved. Re­move from the heat and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the hot cream and add the white choco­late. Stir un­til com­bined and smooth.

Put the yolks in a large mix­ing bowl. Beat con­tin­u­ously with a whisk, and slowly add the hot cream into the yolks un­til in­cor­po­rated.

Pour the cus­tard mix into a cou­ple of oven­proof dishes that will fit in­side a high-sided roast­ing pan. Pour hot water into the roast­ing pan un­til it comes three-quar­ters of the way up the sides of the cus­tard dishes. Cover with tin foil and place in the cen­tre of the oven.

Check after 20 min­utes and then at 10-minute in­ter­vals. The cus­tard is ready when it is set but still a lit­tle “ner­vous” in the cen­tre.

Re­move from the water bath and cool at room tem­per­a­ture be­fore re­frig­er­at­ing un­til re­quired.


2 x 850g cans Black Doris plums 200ml port

¼ cup brown sugar

6 cloves

8 all­spice

1 cin­na­mon stick, bro­ken in half peel of ½ an orange,

cut into strips

6 leaves gela­tine

Drain the juice of the plums into a bowl and set the plums aside.

Mea­sure out 2½ cups of the plum juice and pour into a saucepan. Add the port, brown sugar, cloves, all­spice, cin­na­mon stick and orange peel. Bring to the boil then sim­mer for 15 min­utes. Strain off the solids and keep the hot liq­uid.

Soak the gela­tine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 min­utes then, when soft, squeeze out the water and stir the leaves into the hot liq­uid. Pour into a suit­able dish and re­frig­er­ate to set.


800g rhubarb, coarsely chopped ½ cup orange juice

½ cup sugar

Place all the in­gre­di­ents in a heavy based saucepan, place on medium-low heat and sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 20-30 min­utes un­til nicely stewed. Re­move from the heat and cool then re­frig­er­ate un­til re­quired.


4 ta­ble­spoons Black Doris plum or rasp­berry jam (I used Ruth Pretty’s gor­geous Black Doris jam)

¾ cup port re­served Black Doris plums, quar­tered

and stones dis­carded 600ml cream, whipped to soft peaks 150g white choco­late

150g milk choco­late

Cut the sponge into 3cm-thick strips then line the base of two large tri­fle bowls with them.

In a bowl, mix the jam and port un­til com­bined then brush or pour over the sponge. Spread the rhubarb over, then the plums, fol­lowed by the jelly cut into pieces.

Care­fully spread the white choco­late cus­tard over the fruit and jelly then fol­low with the whipped cream. Place the tri­fle in the fridge.

To gar­nish, melt the white choco­late in a dou­ble boiler then pour on to a smooth clean oven tray and spread out thinly with a spat­ula. Re­peat with the milk choco­late. Re­frig­er­ate both for 10 min­utes to set. Re­move and, with a large knife, scrape towards you over the choco­late to cre­ate thin rolls of del­i­cate choco­late and sprin­kle over the tri­fle.

To serve, scoop out por­tions with a large spoon, mak­ing sure you dig down to the bot­tom of the dish so each por­tion has all the com­po­nents of pud­ding.

When I'm in charge of the cook­ing, I will de­lib­er­ately spread it out over a good num­ber of hours to en­sure we get plenty of time around the ta­ble and a chance to en­joy each course. AL BROWN, 2009

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