This Christmas AVOCA’s team of skilled and dedicated chefs and bakers will produce 7,000 Christmas puddings and 5,000 Christmas cakes which go through a handmade process of soaking, mixing, icing, labelling and hand wrapping each individual cake. 90,000 mince pies are handmade using an almond pastry and AVOCA’s best mincemeat. This is a labour of love, all for one day of the year. That’s the dedication and passion which is involved behind the scenes at one of Ireland’s favourite stores.
This year AVOCA is all about making Christmas easier for you, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the festive period with family and friends. Everything from the Christmas ham, seasonal sides, pate’s to start and a selection of classic Christmas desserts, like AVOCA’s Christmas Yule Log can be ordered and collected from in store. Whilst AVOCA advise to get these orders in plenty of time to avoid missing out, AVOCA also stock a wide range of Christmas products in store which can be picked up in the run-up to Christmas. AVOCA have glazes, duck fats and gravy to help with your own Christmas cooking, classic condiments like marie rose, piccalilli, and cranberry port and clementine sauce. Sides and stuffing’s including traditional herb and onion or cranberry and apricot, the famous potato and champ mashes, rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes, and Brussel sprouts, root vegetables and braised red cabbage ready for warming. For Christmas treats pick up Christmas cakes or puddings, a sherry trifle, mince pies with brandy butter, or mincemeat to whip up a batch of your own.
Avoca’s Raspberry & Port Trifle with home-made sponge and custard
Trifle is a classic seasonal dessert and we think it is a great addition to any Christmas meal or get together. This is the recipe we use at Avoca and we thought we’d share it with you! We recommend making your own custard and sponge but, if you just don’t have the time – we offer homemade Christmas trifles as part of our Avoca to go Christmas menu, at €13.95 each for this raspberry and port version or €14.95 for a classic sherry trifle. We also offer a wide range of other Christmas dishes to pre-order from our stores from Christmas hams and sides, condiments and beverages and a number of Christmas treats.
pre-heat oven to 170°c/gas mark 5
For the sponge
5 medium eggs
140g caster sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
140g plain flour
For the custard
6 large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
For the fruit mixture
500g caster sugar
800g fresh or frozen raspberries
For the topping
400ml cream, stiffly whipped
2tbsp toasted flaked almonds
To make the sponge
Line a 27x3cm loose-bottomed round tin with baking parchment. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the whole eggs, vanilla and caster sugar for 12-15 minutes or until the mixture is pale in colour, has doubled in size and can hold a figure of eight made with the whisk. Carefully fold in the sifted flour without deflating the mixture. Spoon into the pre-lined tin and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
To make the custard
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour for 3-4 minutes. Place the milk, cream and split vanilla pod in a heavy saucepan and bring to just below boiling point, then pour the hot milk and cream over the egg yolks whisking vigorously as you add the liquid. Return to the saucepan and cook on a medium heat, whisking for 6-8 minutes or until the custard has thickened and is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat, transfer to a clean bowl and allow to cool. Cover and place in the fridge until required. This custard will keep perfectly in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as you use milk and cream with a good shelf life.
To make the fruit mixture
In a stainless steel saucepan place the port, water and caster sugar on a low heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the temperature and allow to boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Add the raspberries and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and strain the fruit from the stock and reserve the port stock syrup.
To assemble the trifle
Break the sponge into pieces and dip each piece into the port stock syrup, allowing the sponge to soak up the syrup. Arrange the sponge in the bottom of the bowl, spoon a generous amount of the raspberries onto the sponge and then add another layer of sponge and raspberries. Cover the entire surface of the mixture with the cold custard, smoothing the surface with a spoon or a palette knife. Then top with the stiffly whipped cream and finally, the toasted flaked almonds. Ideally, return to the fridge for an hour or two before serving. It is perfect to make the night before but, if doing so, don’t add the flaked almonds until just before serving.