Obviously we don’t really have a celebration like Independence day in the UK. Probably because we are just that, a United Kingdom, each of our little parts has celebratory Saints days of sorts (St Piran’s day for me!) but we don’t have one specific holiday for all of us. I’m not even really sure what we would celebrate if we did have one, the signing of the Magna Carta maybe? I suppose we have fireworks on Bonfire Night and we have public holidays for the Queens Jubilee (thanks your Maj!) but that’s probably as close as we come.
Being Brits over here means that we do get a little bit of good-hearted ‘Brit-baiting’ around the 4th of July but I have to say that it’s not a date that really means anything on my usual side of the pond. I missed out on last years celebrations (I went back home for the Glastonbury festival and stuck around for a week or so) but I have high hopes for seeing this years festivities in D.C.
So anyway, in the spirit of embracing Independence Day, which is actually a whole lot of fun (I love a good firework display!) I’ve come up with this UK-USA cross-over pudding. Something that we Brits over here can enjoy along with our American cousins. American cheesecake disguised as British trifle in the colours of both our nations flags. It’s like edible diplomacy!
Once these have been in the fridge for a while they’re pretty stable so you could even build them up in little jars to make portable picnic treats.
75g plain flour
15g Demerara sugar
45g salted butter, cut into small pieces
Blueberry compote layer
250g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp sugar
Macerated strawberry layer
250g fresh ripe strawberries
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp gin/Pimms/lemon juice
270g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla paste
50g icing sugar
150ml double cream
Start by making the shortbread crumble and the compote so that they are cool when you assemble the trifle.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Combine the sugar and the flour in a bowl and rub the butter into it. Once it looks likes a sort of rubble-y mixture press it into a baking tin or dish, keeping it quite chunky so that you have decent sized lumps when you break it up. Bake this for around 20 minutes, until it starts to look golden then set it aside to cool.
For the blueberry compote simply combine the sugar and berries in a small pan and allow them to gently bubble together for 5-10 minutes, until the juices become very thick and syrupy. Try not to stir the pan, as you’ll break up the fruit, just give it a swirl or a shake every so often. Leave this to cool once it’s done too.
Chop up the strawberries (quarters is usually fine for the smaller ones) and mix them with the sugar and booze or lemon juice. Put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to macerate together.
The creamy cheesecake layer is really very easy to make. Use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy. Add the cream and beat again until it becomes quite thick and fluffy.
Once you have all of your components you can assemble the trifle, either in one big bowl or separate smaller glasses. It doesn’t really matter which order you put things in but I like the blueberry layer at the bottom so that the juice doesn’t leak through the other layers. I also make sure that I have cheesecake mixture either side of the shortbread crumble so that the fruit juices don’t make it go soft.
Once you’ve layered everything up you can decorate the top and then leave it in the fridge for a good couple of hours to set and become more firm.