If you need an easy Christmas dessert that’s delicious and a total crowd pleaser then a trifle might be just what you’re looking for. Now you can go all high-brow with trifles and make every element from scratch and there’s no problem with that at all, if you have the time and inclination, but a trifle is one of the rare instances where I’m not sure the extra work results in a better end result. At the end of the day a trifle is a mish-mash of flavours and textures – a kind of sweet mushy mess, so spending an afternoon making your own sponge or Swiss roll is probably a wasted effort. In this trifle everything is pretty much store-bought and hence it’s merely an assembly job. The only time-consuming element is waiting for the jelly to set and for the trifle to sit in the fridge for all the layers and flavours to meld. The only caveat to this being a great trifle is you need to buy really good quality store-bought ingredients. Look for the best ready-made custard with real vanilla seeds (no packet powered custard) and a sponge from a nice bakery – you get the picture. I’ve used fresh peaches and strawberries but you can sub it with any fruit you like and even use canned fruit in a pinch. I’ve kept this trifle booze free so as the kiddies can dig in too but of course feel free to douse it with your favourite tipple if you want to. Once you’ve stocked up on the ingredients it’s a breeze and you’ll end up with a dessert that looks impressive and will feed 8-10 greedy people.
Ingredients – Makes One Large Trifle, serves 8-10
2 packets of raspberry jelly
600ml of thickened cream
395g tin of condensed milk.
500g plain sponge cake or jam swiss roll
1 punnet of strawberries cut into large slices
4 peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
500ml of best quality store-bought vanilla custard
large handful of flaked almonds – toasted
Make the jelly as per the packet instructions and pour it into a large container (so as there is a thinnish level of jelly in the dish) and place into the fridge to set. Cut the sponge cake into large dice or slice the jam swiss roll into 1cm pieces. Place the cream and condensed milk into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Set aside until needed.
Arrange half of the sponge over the base of a 3 litre serving bowl and top with half of the custard, half the strawberries and peach slices, half of the jelly and half of the cream. Repeat in the same order until your serving bowl is filled and a layer of cream is on top.
Place your trifle into the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight if possible. Sprinkle the toasted flaked almonds over the top of your trifle just before serving.