It’s that time of year again. Hard to believe right? Is it just me or has this year flown by faster than ever?! But Christmas is just around the corner and I’m really looking forward to it, for a change. I’ll be over in Perth with the boy’s family for the first time, hopefully enjoying a proper hot Aussie Christmas! But I have a few neat Christmas recipes to share with you before then…
I was never a fan of heavy, overly boozy trifles made with packet jelly and poor quality custard, but seeing some beautiful and modern spins on this classic Christmas dish in recent years has changed my mind completely. I actually have a whole bunch of other ideas of trifles to make in the near future, so colour me obsessed (and stay tuned, it’s gonna be awesome).
I first made this recipe for last year’s family Christmas lunch in a massive trifle bowl, and I was surprised that after a huge lunch and with several other dessert choices, it was completely demolished! Quite a few people asked me for the recipe so I knew I would have to make it again this year – but this time I decided to halve the recipe and make individual servings as a practice run for Steve’s much smaller family!
There are a few different elements to this dessert, but it comes together more quickly than you’d think. The cranberry and moscato jelly and the vanilla bean custard can be made in advance, and the whole thing can be assembled the day before (or even a few hours before) you plan to serve it. This time around I used a store-bought sponge cake and cherry jam which saved me a lot of time, however homemade would taste even better!
I just love this summery, festive combination of flavours, but feel free to play around with it. Champagne would be a lovely substitute for Moscato in the jelly, any kind of berry jam or even rhubarb would work well, and a hint of passionfruit in the custard would be delicious too. This recipe can also be easily scaled up and served in a large glass bowl to feed a bigger crowd. Stay tuned for more Christmassy recipes coming up soon!
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1. Cranberry and Moscato Jelly
• 2 ½ teaspoons gelatine powder
• 1 cup cranberry juice
• ½ cup pink moscao (or pink champagne)
• ¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar
• 6 strawberries, sliced
To make the strawberry jelly, place the gelatine and ¼ cup of the cranberry juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatine is absorbed. Place the remaining cranberry juice, moscato and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and stir to combine. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Arrange the strawberries in the bases of 6 mason jars or other serving glass and pour over the jelly mixture. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours until set.
2. Sponge Cake
Use your favourite sponge cake recipe or a quality store-bought one. Cut circles the same diameter as your serving glasses and place carefully on top of set jelly layer.
3. Jam Layer
The first time I made this recipe I used my homemade blueberry jam, but you could also use a quality store-bought mixed berry or cherry jam. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of jam (warmed slightly if necessary) on top of sponge cake
4. Fresh Berry Layer
I used a combination of sliced strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. You could also use pitted cherries or other berries. If fresh berries are unavailable, you can substitute frozen berries. Use enough to create an even layer on top of the jam layer.
5. Vanilla Bean Custard (can be made in advance)
• 420ml pouring (single) cream
• ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
• 5 egg yolks
• 60g caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornflour
To make the vanilla custard, place cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Cover and allow to infuse for 20 minutes. Place the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the eggs and whisk to combine. Return mixture to the saucepan and stir over low heat for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla bean and allow custard to cool completely. When cool, spoon custard on top of trifles. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
6. To serve
Arrange fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on top of trifle and serve immediately.