Hi everyone, today I’m going to share another recipe which I use all the time at Christmas and all year round for both dinners and parties. It’s my Christmas trifle recipe.
I love trifle; it is one of my favourite desserts. We always have trifle at Christmas, normally after Christmas dinner for pudding or at teatime. It was also a staple of every Christmas buffet table when I was growing up. So holds lovely memories for me.
It is also quick, easy and you can make it ahead of time; all things which are essential in every recipe I use for entertaining. It looks really impressive but from a cooking point of view it mainly consists of boiling the kettle, opening cans and stirring.
This may not please Christmas trifle recipe purists, so look away now if you are easily offended by:
> Shop bought sponge – I hate baking a cake that I then need to immediately chop up and put in a trifle, so I buy mine. Plus it can add really great depth of flavour to your trifle (see my favourites in recipe below).
> Jelly – A lot of trifle recipes don’t have jelly in, why is this, it is the best part? Again fabulous for adding flavour and colour to your layers.
> Tinned fruit – Because I like to have distinct flavour layers I buy tins of each fruit I’m using individually. However, I would not turn my nose up at using good old fruit cocktail, that would really get me reminiscing about my childhood.
> Custard powder – I don’t make my own custard, because it always seems like a massive and expensive waste of eggs when you can buy a whole tub of custard powder really cheap. As well as this, I like my custard for my sponge set and properly yellow. You could however use a lovely tub of shop bought vanilla custard to pour over the top instead if you were feeling fancy.
Note: If you are in the US, this recipe confusingly uses Jelly (when I say Jelly I mean Jell-o) and Jam (when I say Jam I mean Jelly); don’t get them mixed up.
So with that out the way and without further ado, here it is…
My Christmas Trifle Recipe
“It may not be what you’re used to, but that’s the way we do it here”
For Jelly Layers:
> 1 x shop bought cake – I love to use Mcvities Jamaica Ginger (especially Christmassy) or Golden Syrup loaf cakes, but obviously any cake works, pick your favourite.
> 2 x packs of jelly cubes – I use Hartley’s – pick two different flavours so that you get nice layers, I like orange and raspberry.
> 2 x tins of fruit – pick ones that complement your jelly i.e. 1 x tin of mandarin segments and 1 x tin of raspberries.
> Jam – again, I like to use two different ones that match the flavours I’m using, but any jam works just fine throughout.
For Custard topping:
> 2 tablespoons Custard Powder
> 1 tablespoon Sugar
> Pint of milk
Final Florish: Squirty cream and sprinkles!
Note: I’m making a huge showstopper bowl full here (3 pint bowl). Measure the capacity of your bowl first as you may need to adjust the amount of jelly you pour in for each layer so that you have three equal(ish) layers.
You are ideally looking to use a nice big and deep glass bowl so the layers show.
Also, start the day before you are serving so your layers can set!
Layer one: Orange Jelly Layer
Cut your loaf cake in half.
Use one half of the cake and cut into small cubes, put into the bottom of your glass serving bowl. Set aside.
Take your orange jelly cubes and cut up into a measuring jug, then pour over 1/2 pint of boiling water, stir until dissolved.
Open the tin of mandarin segments and carefully pour just the juice into the jelly, then add just the fruit into your serving bowl on top of the sponge.
In your measuring jug: add enough water to make the jelly and juice up to a pint, stir and then pour over your mandarin segments and sponge. Give the layer a gentle stir through to mix, careful not to break up the sponge cubes.
Take your jam (I would use a marmalade or apricot jam for this layer) and using a small teaspoon add small amounts of jam gently spaced across the surface of the jelly, probably about 8 small blobs, in a random pattern (see photo). You are looking for everyone to get a little bit of jam in their portion if possible; but it’s not an exact science, it’s trifle – so don’t get too worried about it.
Put your bowl in the fridge and forget about it for an hour of two. Read a book, watch the telly, see how great this recipe is!
Layer two: Raspberry Jelly Layer
Note: Make sure layer one is set before proceeding!
Essentially repeating the process but with raspberry, but for those who are following closely:
Use the other half of the cake; cut into small cubes, spread on top of your set orange layer. Set aside.
Take your raspberry jelly cubes and cut up into the empty measuring jug, then pour over 1/2 pint of boiling water, stir until dissolved.
Open the tin of raspberries and carefully pour just the juice into the jelly mix. Then add just the fruit into your serving bowl mix gently with the waiting sponge cubes, careful not to upset your set orange layer.
In your measuring jug: Use water to make the raspberry jelly up to a pint, stir and then pour over your raspberries and sponge. Give the layer a gentle stir through to mix, careful not to break up the sponge cubes or disturb the orange layer.
Take your jam (I would use raspberry jam for this layer) and using a small teaspoon add small amounts of jam (8) gently across the surface of the jelly. Again, you don’t need to be precise here, it’s a trifle.
Put your bowl in the fridge and forget about it for an hour of two. Another chance for some me time; this recipe gets better and better.
Note: I always make the two jelly layers the day before and the custard layer on the morning I’m serving.
So, once your second jelly layer is set; or the next morning:
Follow the instructions on the tub of custard powder to make 1 pint. Easy.
Pour custard evenly over your raspberry jelly layer and return to the fridge until ready to serve, taking time to admire pleasing layered effect.
When you are ready to serve, take out the trifle and just before serving use squirty cream to add artistic rosettes and liberally cover with sprinkles.
Set your trifle down triumphantly on the table.
Spoon out into bowls and serve with pouring cream whilst modestly accepting bountiful praise. I love making desserts!
There are so many variations on this trifle theme, just match your jelly to your fruit in each layer and use contrasting colours so the layers stand out. Hopefully this recipe inspires you to experiment; a few of my favourites:
> Add another layer: A third jelly flavour: Go with lime/orange/raspberry jelly layers for a traffic light trifle.
> Add some booze: I have left this alcohol free for family friendliness. When I’m making for adults I sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of booze over the sponge cubes in the bowl before adding the jelly for each layer. Amaretto for the orange layer and cherry brandy for the raspberry one.
So there you have my Christmas trifle recipe. If you liked this; find my recipe for Angel Pie which makes a lovely alternative pudding here.
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