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December 2, 2020

Festive Trifle like you have never seen before!

Posted on December 1, 2016 by in desserts

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festive trifle

Festive trifle is layers of custard, jelly, boozy sponge cake and cream in a bowl, right? Wrong!

My festive trifle this year is something completely different, yet similar in so many ways. A tapestry of trifle, I call it. Why mess with a heirloom recipe? Look, I love trifle, it’s  Christmas tradition not to be messed with. I have issues with trifle though. My first issues is that the good stuff is always on the top. The cream, the cherries, the nuts and those who dish up first, gets it all. So when I finally get to dish up, I have to settle for the jelly and custard layers. My second issue is the bowl.

Festive Trifle

It is trendy to make trifle in deep bowls to show off all the incredible layers. Again, when I get to the bowl, the layers have collapsed and it is just one colorful mess. Ok, so by now, many of you are going to scrutinize me and I am ok with that. Please do not offend Aunty Betty or Granny by not eating their trifles. This is just my play on old and familiar flavors, with a little drama on the side.

So a trifle basically consists of sponge cake, jelly, custard, fruit, nuts and cream. These are just the basics, I am sure all of you have your own twists and tweaks.

So below you will find the recipes for the individual elements, you create your own tapestry.

Festive Trifle

Vanilla Panna Cotta (the custard)

serves 8


500 ml cream

10 g sugar

6 – 7 sheets gelatin – softened in 125 ml water – if you make individual servings, 6 sheets should be fine, with the “loaf”, I needed it to be firmer.

seeds from 1 vanilla pod

pinch of salt


Soak or bloom the gelatin leaves in tap water for about 10 – 15 minutes or until they are soft. In the meantime, pour the cream into a pot. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and bring the cream to the boil. Just before it reaches boiling point, add the softened gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the cream mixture into individual molds that you sprayed with Spray ‘n Cook or in a bread tin as I have done. Chill for at least 3 – 4 hours or overnight and serve with the fresh berries and curd.

Festive Trifle

Sponge Cake/Jam Roll

serves 6-8


4 jumbo eggs

100 ml caster sugar

210 ml flour

a pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 30 x 30 cm baking sheet or oven pan with silicon paper and I take no chances and even spray the paper with Spray n Cook! Place the eggs and sugar in your mixer and beat until light and fluffy and more than double in volume. The more air you can get into the cake, the lighter it will be! This is called the ribbon stage. Mix the salt and flour together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold the flour into the egg mixture with a metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 11 minutes.

Two ingredient Chocolate Mousse (White or dark)

makes 6 servings (about đ cup each)


170 g dark or white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) cream, cold


Place chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Add ̛ cup cream and microwave until melted and smooth. Heat gently in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between. Allow to cool on the counter for 20 minutes or until the mixture reaches room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the rest of the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and whisk by hand until smooth. Add half of the remaining whipped cream and fold gently until combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold until combined and smooth.

Divide the mousse between 6 individual cups. For exactly 6 servings, each should measure đ cup/120 ml. Chill the mousse for at least 2 hours, until set.

Fruit Jellies


400 g berries – I used raspberries and strawberries 30 ml sugar
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt

5 ml agar agar


Pour the lemon juice and raspberries into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until raspberries have softened.
Stir in maple syrup and stir until combined. Use a stick blender to puree the mixture. Strain the raspberry seeds out if desired.

Stir in agar agar powder until completely dissolved. Heat the mixture to a rolling boil and continue to cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Pour into a baking dish or into silicone moulds. Place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes until firm. Remove from moulds.

For the crumbs I used crushed ginger biscuits. I also used fresh berries and edible flowers. Enjoy and play with your food.

Festive Trifle

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