This one is sure a toughie; have been thinking long and hard whether I want to share this one, well, nothing very special about it, except that it is my most popular creation (especially, at office potlucks), so the desire to hoard recipe. But, here goes…
This is best made in advance, the previous night if you want to serve it for lunch or in the morning, if it is for dinner. This is to enable the custard to percolate right down to the last layer, yes it is a layered concoction. The quantities given below make for comfortable servings for 8-10 people, for more increase please. This is a heavy dessert, makes you want to go snzzz, so sometimes I have inter-layered with Marie biscuits (works well, if most of your guests also have /follow non-egg days-fruit cake has eggs!)
Total time to assemble: about 1 hr (this is not a quick-making dessert, alas ;)! )
Milk: 1 liter for custard; 1/4 cup cold milk to dissolve custard powder
Jelly packet: 1
Sugar: 2 1/2 Tbsp (the jelly is sugar-heavy)
Custard Powder: 2 Tbsp (i prefer the standard Vanilla flavor, others can be used, but then pl pair the jelly with the custard :-)! )
Cake: 400 gm (preferably, a fruit cake, sponge will disintegrate too fast)
Fruits: Bananas (2-4 medium-sized, sliced); apples (2, peeled, finely sliced); pears (2, peeled, finely sliced); grapes (1 cup, washed, halved); strawberries (1 cup, washed, halved) /Kiwi fruit (peeled, halved, finely sliced for topping)
Any in-season fruits can be used, but if you want to use pineapples, please stew, do not use raw! Fruits that are kind of best to use and help bulk this up are bananas and apples/pears
Follow instructions on jelly packet to set jelly (most are quick-setting, take about 30-45 mins, but are best refrigerated before use), ideally, therefore make at least a couple of hours in advance to the custard. Pour into desired mold, leave to set. When ready, loosen sides with knife, invert onto plate or bowl (I do not invert, i prefer to spoon out onto trifle)
To make Custard: take a heavy-bottomed pan, pour in about 1 liter of milk, bring to boil, once boiled reduce heat, add sugar and let simmer for about 5-7 mins, stirring occasionally.
In a separate bowl or wide bottomed cup, spoon the custard powder, pour in the 1/4th cup cold milk, stirring all the while. Ensure that all the custard is dissolved and there are no lumps. Add the dissolved portion into the simmering milk, stirring all the time. A heavy-bottomed pan is essential so that the custard does not burn or stick to the bottom. Continue for another 3-4 mins to take custard to desired consistency, stirring all the while. Turn off gas and remove pan once desired consistency is achieved; set aside to cool (stir once in a while or a creamy crust-ish layer might form on top).
Take a wide bottomed dish/bowl/container into which you would like to layer the pudding. Rinse with water, drain, set aside.
Slice cake into medium thickness slices, peel, slice fruit and keep aside.
Spoon some of the cooled down custard into the dish, ensuring that it coats the bottom evenly. Lay out the cake slices, ensuring full coverage of base, you might need to crumble a slice or two to fill the gaps–depending on the shape of the dish used.
Cover cake slices with another layer of custard, smoothing it over the slices, scoop out jelly from the mold with a table or serving spoon, ladle/lay out over the custard layer. Top this with the finely sliced apples, topping that with the sliced banana, cover fruit-jelly with custard, smoothing it out, add another layer of cake, then a layer of jelly, followed by two layers of fruit (either banana+grape or apple/pear+grape-fruit choices left to you–if using oranges, remove skin, seed), followed by custard. Continue layering until the bowl is filled to near top.
Finish with a layer of custard, decorate with either halved grapes/strawberries or finely sliced kiwi fruit. If you have any jelly left, as I normally do, crumble it and use for top layer decoration under fruit.
Wipe sides of dish clean, cover and put into refrigerator to chill. Remove only before serving.
If you would like to make this not-so heavy, replace cake layer with Marie biscuits. You could add dry fruits or chocolate shavings or cream before serving as added decoration, but I prefer not to…:-)
PS. Now that the recipe is finally up, it is my dearest hope that my colleagues will take on the challenge of making this and i can sit back and relax :-), wicked of me, i know