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Christmas Sherry Trifle

Introduction & method

Trifle is a wonderful concoction of fruity jelly with some kind of sponge cake in it, set custard, whipped cream and maybe fruit and nuts on top. And it's not just for Christmas.

Christmas Sherry Trifle Recipe

Savoiardi Biscuits

Some kind of spongy biscuit or cake is placed in the sherry bowl and soaked with jelly. Popular choices include madeira cake, Swiss roll or amaretti biscuits, but Savoiardi ('lady fingers') bisciuts are also quite common. These biscuits come from the Savoi region of north-west Italy.
The first thing to do is separate the egg whites and yolks. This is best done by having 3 bowls. One bowl is to collect the white from the egg you're separating. It's there as a precaution in case you break the yolk - you do not want yolk in your egg whites because you're going to make a meringue. When you've collected the white from one egg, transfer it to the second bowl and put the yolk in bowl 3. Put all 4 egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until foamy then whisk in the cornflour and half of the sugar. Keep whisking until you achieve stiff peaks.

Heat your oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan/convection oven, 180°C (356°F) conventional, gas 4. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar, and the vanilla. Use a spatula to fold in the flour and the stiffened egg whites. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and use a pastry bag with a wide opening - about 1cm - to pipe lines of batter about 7 or 8cm long. Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool. You will have a lot more biscuits than you need but they'll keep well in an airtight container and they are the go-to choice for tiramisu.

Mixed Fuit Jelly

The choice of fruit is up to you, but things that contain protease, like pineapple, papaya, mango and others will cause to jelly to fail unless they are cooked. You need to purée most of the fruit and save some to put in whole and for decoration. Put the fruit for puréeing into a blender jug along with the sherry, three quarters of the water and the vanilla. Whizz until smooth then press it through a fine seive with the back of a spoon. Discard the pips, seed, pulp. Sprinkle the gelatine powder into the remaining water and stir very well to get it completely dissolved. Add it to the fruity liquid. Arrange 75 grams (3 ounces) of your biscuits or sponge in a fancy glass bowl. Mine is 2 litre (8 cups) capacity. Pour the jelly over it and put in the fridge to set. This could take an hour or two.


Slowly bring the milk and the cream to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pan. While this is happening, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour. When the milk and cream is beginning to boil, slowly pour it over the egg yolk mixture, stirring continuously. Clean out the pan, put the mixture back in and return it to the stove. Let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens - don't let it boil. If it curdles, put it into a bowl or sink of cold water and whisk vigorously until it becomes smooth again. Let it cool down and put it in the fridge to cook further once it has stopped steaming. After an hour or so, take the trifle bowl and spread the remaining fruit (apart from a feww bits for garnish) over the jelly. If you have big things like strawberries, you might want to quarter them or slice them. Pour the custard over and smooth the top with a palette knife. Put it back in the fridge to set completely.

Whipped Cream

Put the cream, sherry, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of your stand mixer and whizz to soft peaks. Spoon the mixture over the trifle and arrange the last bits of fruit on top. Artistically.

Toasted Almonds

You can buy flaked almonds, or you can make your own. To do this, place a tablespoon of whole almonds in a bowl and cover with 3-4 tablespoons of boiling water. Let them stand for a minute or two then squeeze/rub each almond to get the skin off. Carefully split them open with a paring knife.
To toast them, heat a small frying pan, quite hot, no fat. Put the almond flakes in and shake them now and again so they are browned but not burnt. This will only take a minute or two. Remove them from the pan and sprinkle them on top of the trifle when they are cool.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Christmas Sherry Trifle on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 4 egg whites
 4 egg yolks
 100 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
 165 grams sugar
 25 grams cornflour (cornstarch)
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 12 grams powdered gelatine
 175 grams hot water
 100 grams caster (powdered) sugar
 375 grams strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
 50 ml medium sherry
 300 ml milk
 150 ml double (heavy) cream
 6 egg yolks
 60 grams caster (powdered) sugar
 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
 200 ml double (heavy) cream
 30 grams caster (powdered) sugar
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 50 ml medium sherry


Fruit, biscuit bits, toasted flaked almonds for garnish.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 6 -8
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Cooling/setting time: 4 hours.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Total time: 4 hours 40 minutes.