APPLE COMPOTE 1kg tart apples, such as Bramley or Granny Smith 1 vanilla pod/bean, seeds scraped out, or vanilla extract 3tbsp sugar CAKE LAYER 125g minus 1tbsp plainflour ½tsp bicarbonate of soda pinch of salt 1tsp ground cinnamon 1tsp mixed spice 75g softened butter 100g caster sugar 1 egg HAZELNUT-OAT CRUNCH 50g butter 40g golden caster sugar 25g rolled oats 50g panko breadcrumbs 50g chopped hazelnuts OTHER LAYERS 150ml good-quality cold custard 200ml whipped cream (forming soft peaks)
to make the compote, peel, core and chop the apples. Place in a pan with the vanilla, sugar and 100ml water and bring to the boil. simmer for about 20 minutes, then leave to cool. Remove the vanilla pod/bean.
to make the cake layer, you will need a 20x20cm cake pan. Preheat the oven to 170°c/fan 150°c/gas 3 ½. combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and keep beating until incorporated. fold in the dry ingredients, followed by 150g of the apple compote. once combined, pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes, until just baked through. insert a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, it’s done. this is a thin layer, so it won’t take long. leave to cool.
to make the hazelnut-oat crunch, melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the sugar and stir until melted. Add the oats and breadcrumbs and fry for several minutes, until crisp. Add the nuts and fry for a few more minutes – be careful not to over-toast, as they can go bitter. once everything is crispy, turn out into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
to assemble the trifle, put a layer of the remaining apple compote in a trifle bowl, then add a cake layer. Add more apple, followed by the crunch, then apple again. Add a layer of custard, then crunch, apple and cake. Repeat again, reserving a bit of the crunch to decorate. spread whipped cream on top. leave to set in the fridge for at least an hour. Just before serving, decorate with crunch..