serves 8 - 10
fat for greasing
3/4 cup (75 g) 3 oz plain flour (All purpose)
pinch of salt
2 oz (50 g) margarine
1/3 cup (75 g) 3oz castor sugar
filling and topping
2 tbsp (30 ml) sherry
22 - 24 Sponge Fingers
1 X 540 g (18 oz) can unsweetened apricot halves in natural juice
1 X 142 g/5 oz packet lemon jelly
2 tbsp (30 ml) smooth apricot jam
1 pint (600 ml) double cream (heavy cream)
2 tbsp (25 g) 1 oz caster sugar (superfine granulated)
angelica (see method)
1. Line and grease a 15 cm (6 inch) round cake tin.
2. Set the oven at 180°c (350°f) gas 4.
3. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and put in a warm place.
4. Melt the margarine in a saucepan without letting it get hot. Set aside.
5. Whisk the eggs lightly in a heatproof bowl. Add the sugar and place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Whisk for 10 - 15 minutes until thick. Take care that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until at blood heat.
6. The melted margarine should be at the same temperature.
7. Sift half the flour over the eggs, then pour in half the melted margarine in a thin stream. Fold in gently. Repeat, using the remaining flour and fat.
8. Spoon gently into the prepared tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
9. To assemble the gateau, place the sponge on a serving plate and sprinkle the sherry over.
10. Trim the sponge fingers to a length of about 7.5 cm (3 inch)es. The base of each sponge finger should be level, so that it will stand straight.
11. Drain the apricots, reserving 125 ml (4 fl oz) juice in a small saucepan.
12. Heat the reserved apricot juice, add the lemon jelly and stir until dissolved.
13. Pour into a shallow bowl and leave to cool but not set. Add the apricot jam to the saucepan and heat it.
14. Brush the sugar-free side of each trimmed sponge finger with apricot jam to a depth of 2.5 cm/1 inch. Dip one long side of each finger into the liquid jelly and attach to the sponge cake. The sponge fingers should touch each other, with the jam-coated sides facing inwards and the jelly sealing each to its neighbour. They should extend above the cake to form a shell. When all the sponge fingers are in place, tie a 2 cm (3/4 inch) wide ribbon around the finished cake, if liked, to hold the fingers in position. Place in a cool place until set.
15. Reserve 6 apricot halves for decoration and chop the rest. Put the cream in a bowl and whip until just stiff; stir in the sugar. Spoon 45 ml (3 tbsp) of the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle. Keep in the refrigerator until required. Stir the chopped apricots and the rest of the liquid jelly into the remaining cream. Place in the refrigerator until on the point of setting, then spoon on top of the sponge cake, filling the cavity formed by the wall of sponge fingers.
16. Return the gateau to the refrigerator for 1 hour until set, then arrange the reserved apricot halves on top. Pipe the reserved cream on top of the gateau in a decorative border. Alternatively the cream may be piped between the fruit.
17. Decorate with angelica. Chill until ready to serve.