Thursday, 4 December 2014

RECIPE: Cheat's cherry berry trifle.

I love trifle. Seriously. Big trifle fan.

However, oddly enough I’d never made it myself. I guess it always seemed like such a faff with all those layers. But it turns out you can make a rather cracking trifle pretty simply with a few little cheats, as I discovered with this recipe.

It’s an unconventional Hosie family tradition to serve trifle as one of our many Christmas Day puddings, so eating trifle always stirs up festive feelings inside me. And awful plays on words: “Would you like some more?” “Oh, just a trifle.” *guffaws*

(Seriously, we make that joke every year. It's usually my hi-LAIR-ious brother. We're a hoot, we Hosies.)

Cherries also have a slightly Christmassy vibe in my opinion, so when Hartley’s sent me some of their new Black Cherry flavour jelly to try out, I thought it was just perfect for a festive trifle.

Lighter custard = this is health food, right?
Weirdly enough, jelly is another Hosie fam Christmas pud. (Don’t judge us, we like a lot of pudding. Any sensible person would.)

Trifle is a classic British pudding for a reason: it’s damn good. Sweet sponge, syrupy fruit, jelly (not always present but a welcome addition in my books), custard and cream all layered up in one beautiful dish of deliciousness. What a winner.

You know that Thanksgiving episode of Friends where Rachel makes the trifle and ends up adding mince and peas because the pages of her recipe book were stuck together? (She makes a trifle-Shepherd’s Pie hybrid.)

Well I felt a little like her actually. Not just because we share the same name (and amazing hair, obvs), but because I was having a big roast dinner with my flatmates that evening and was the only one on pudding duty. That’s pressure, people.

Luckily, I’m pleased to say my trifle went down a treat!

I only had two individual trifle glasses so made the rest in a big glass bowl – not ideal but we made do.

What I love about trifle is the layers stay distinct and look so pretty (even if not exactly clean lines), then you dive in and mush everything up – you’ve got to get a bit of each layer!

The syrupy fruit mix should soak into the sponge, so it’s totally fine to make your trifles in advance and leave them in the fridge to chill for a few hours. Literally.

I know a few people who don’t like glacé cherries but I have to admit I am a fan. They’re just so plump and juicy and sticky and sweet! I left mine whole in this as I like a chunky cherry, but you could chop them if you prefer.

I really like the cherry-berry flavour combo too.

Of course, if you want to make your own custard, cream, jam and sponge then be my guest. You could even grow your own cherries. But I think this trifle is rather fabulous with a few helping hands. And by that I mean shop-bought ingredients. No-one's judging.

To be honest with you, quantities are a little wishy-washy with trifles - it all comes down to your dishes and your preferences. Wanna go heavy on the custard, go for it! Fancy ALL the cream? Why not!?

OH! And make sure you make your jelly far enough in advance so that it has a few hours to set!

This serves 8 people.


1 pack (135g) black cherry jelly

a wedge of lemon and a little sugar for decorating the glasses

4-5 tbsp strawberry jam (or jam of your choice)
200g glacé cherries 
1 pack of 8 trifle sponges (I used these)
1 carton ready-to-eat custard
Squirty whipped cream (or fresh cream, whipped by you - I used a bit of both)
25g dark chocolate, grated


1. Make the jelly according to packet instructions and leave to set in the fridge.

2. Prepare the glasses by gently wiping the lemon wedge around the rims and dipping them in sugar until covered.

3. Add the jam and cherries to a saucepan and cook over a low heat for five minutes or so, just until it's all melted together a bit. Don't let it thicken too much.

Transfer to a cool dish and leave to cool as much as possible.

4. While the cherry mix cools, cut the cake slices into pieces that will fit into your glasses and place them in the bottom in as even a layer as you can.

5. Spoon the cherry mix over the sponges and then top with a layer of jelly.

6. Next up, custard! Spoon it on top.

7. Cream time! Add as much or as little as you like.

8. Just before serving, top with a generous sprinkle of grated chocolate.

Now eat that up and enjooooooy!

What's your fave type of trifle to make (or just eat)?

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