Christmas Trifle. By Kirsty Leggatt

by Susannah Grant posted on 2 December 2015

Now that we are heading into the festive season, I thought I’d post some of my favourite Christmas recipes. If you have a favourite dish that you make or a tasty desert that you love to eat at this time of year, we’d love for you to share it with us. Just drop us an e-mail at and we’ll post your delicious titbits. It doesn’t have to be a recipe, any stories or fun things that you like to do would also be a great addition to our blog.

Along with the ubiquitous Australian pavlova and the traditional fruit pudding, I love making trifle for Christmas desert. It appeals to everyone, it’s easy, delicious and the red and green colours provide a fun and festive element. It’s basically just an assembly and layering process so it’s relatively fuss free. This is a popular desert in Australia but it originates from England and the ingredients and process will change from person to person. I guess trifle also works well with our summer weather in December but don’t let that deter you — I serve this all year round and the recipe below is how I like to make it.


It’s difficult to give exact amounts for this recipe, as it’s easy to make a larger or a smaller version depending on the number of people you have to serve. I’m going to give quantities for a trifle that will serve approximately eight people. You will also need to start a day ahead in order for the jelly to set.

  • Plain sponge cake (approx. 9 inches), cut into slices or cubes. Or any cake of your choosing.
  • 1 litre of custard (using a pre-bought custard is fine. After all this is supposed to be minimum fuss). You might need more custard, depending on the size of your bowl.
  • 1-packet red jelly crystals.
  • 1-packet green jelly crystals.
  • ½ cup of sherry (or orange/pineapple juice if you prefer not to add alcohol).
  • Whipped cream (enough to top desert).
  • Fruit, nuts or shaved chocolate to sprinkle on top.
  1.  The day or evening before you plan to make the trifle, in two separate dishes, prepare the jelly according to instructions on pack and refrigerate until set.
  2. When the jelly is set, chop each colour into rough pieces.
  3. In a large glass bowl place a layer of cake and sprinkle cake with sherry or juice. Spoon some custard over the cake and top custard with pieces of the red and green jelly. Continue layering until you have used all your ingredients. Top trifle with whipped cream and fruit of choice or shaved chocolate.

This is a very versatile desert. You can substitute the sherry for a favourite liqueur and you can add some tinned or fresh fruit to the layers. You can also try spreading fruit jam on the cake instead of using alcohol or juice — it really is up to you.

The trifle sits easily in the fridge for a few hours.




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