The classic combo of pandan and gula melaka has never let anyone down and makes for a fantastic trifle. What is a trifle anyway? It's a chilled British sweet treat that traditionally comprises chunks of cake layered with fruit, custard, jelly, and cream. Here, we've given it a Singaporean spin with deliciously coconutty homemade gula melaka jelly and store-bought pandan chiffon cake.
Serves 4 to 6
1 store-bought pandan chiffon cake (about 23cm in diameter), cut into 1.5-cm cubes
GULA MELAKA JELLY:
2 cups water
150g gula melaka, roughly chopped
3 tsp agar agar powder
1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot
1¼ cups coconut milk
GULA MELAKA SYRUP:
50g gula melaka, chopped
1½ cups water
COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM:
1½ cups whipping cream
2 tsp coconut powder
2 tsp gula melaka syrup
1. Make the gula melaka jelly one day ahead. Place water, gula melaka, agar agar powder and pandan leaf in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Lower the heat and simmer until the agar agar powder is completely dissolved, about 5 mins.
3. Remove the pandan leaf, then pour the coconut milk into the pan. Return the pan to the heat. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
4. Pour into a bowl and cool completely before transferring to the fridge to set overnight. The jelly will separate into two layers — a clear palm sugar layer and a coconut layer.
5. When the jelly has set, chop it finely, and set aside.
6. To make the gula melaka syrup, place gula melaka and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the gula melaka dissolves completely, then strain into a bowl. Cool completely before using.
7. To make coconut whipped cream, place whipping cream and coconut powder in a metal bowl set over a larger bowl filled with ice. Whip the cream using a whisk.
8. As it starts to thicken, add the gula melaka syrup and continue whipping till soft peaks form, then refrigerate (you can do this up to a day in advance).
9. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a small star tip.
10. To assemble the trifle, line the base of a trifle dish or individual glasses with a layer of pandan cake. Drizzle with gula melaka syrup.
11. Arrange a layer of chopped jelly above the layer of cake, and pipe a layer of whipped coconut cream over this.
12. Repeat these layers till you reach the top of the dish or glasses. The last layer should be of piped whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before serving.