Sherry Trifle and Christmas go hand in hand in my home. I remember every Christmas Eve as a child watching my mother make the trifle. Trifles sponges soaked, and I mean soaked, in sherry put into the special trifle bowl, jelly poured over and a tin of fruit. The sponge sort of disintegrated into the jelly and gave it a strange but delightful texture. Topped with cream it was always our Christmas dessert and still is.
I have made some version of this Pomegranate and Raspberry Trifle every Christmas for the last few years. At times I’ve used clementines instead of raspberries, other times I’ve made the jelly with half pomegranate juice and half prosecco. I’d highly recommend that! As I live with someone who believes that fresh fruit has no place in a dessert, I have also made this with just the jelly and custard and topped with cream.
If you think you don’t like trifle because you don’t like jelly have a look at my alternative Chocolate Trifle with Baileys. It is very popular! I will be making this Pomegranate and Raspberry Trifle again this year but not for Christmas Day. Christmas Day is for my Mam’s sherry trifle!
Useful tips & links:
- Trifle can be a really pretty dessert. I think it looks great in the bowl. However, once you start spooning it out it becomes an absolute mess! If you want to impress with presentation you can make individual trifles in a nice glass.
- I put some frozen raspberries into the jelly here, they float to the top and I think they look nice. Feel free to leave them out if you like.
- I’m not a big fan of trifle sponges or ladyfingers but of course you can use them. A shop bought cake will work fine, you are drowning it in sherry after all, but if you would like to make your own madeira for this I usually make Nigella’s recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess.
- Also if making your own custard seems daunting buy 500ml of good quality thick custard and use this instead. I don’t make custard too often so I get anxious but I have to say it’s quite easy to make once you don’t rush it or use a high heat. But I have to admit I bought a shop bought custard as back up just in case, thankfully I didn’t need it.
- The jelly and custard can both be made ahead of time which makes this the perfect ‘make the day before’ type of dessert. Just top with whipped cream before serving. The fresh cream won’t last so if you want to make the whole thing ahead of time I would suggest using mascarpone cream from My Favourite Chocolate Cake to top the custard instead.
- Don’t throw away your egg whites from the custard. Save them to make a pavlova or you could make mini meringues and use them to top the trifle for a little crunch. Some pistachios or toasted flaked almonds would also be nice of top of this trifle.
- This Sherry Trifle recipe from Imen at Farmette is pretty much the way my family make this for Christmas every year.
Pomegranate and Raspberry Trifle
- 1 litre of pomegranate juice
- 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 10 gelatine leaves (18g)
- 200g of frozen raspberries
- 250ml of full fat milk
- 250ml of double cream
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 25g of caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour
- 300g of madeira cake, trifle sponge or ladyfinger sponges
- 100ml of sherry
- 150g of fresh raspberries
- 400ml of double cream
- The seeds of half a pomegranate
- First of all, make the jelly. To do this put the pomegranate juice and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
- Meanwhile soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften them for about 5 minutes. When the juice is nearing boiling point and the sugar has dissolved, remove the gelatine from the bowl of water and squeeze it to remove excess water. Add it to the juice and stir while heating it until the gelatine has completely dissolved.
- Taste the jelly to see if it sweet enough for you. Pomegranates are not particularly sweet and I like this as the custard a cream is sweet but add more sugar if you like.
- Pour the jelly into the trifle bowl or glasses and allow to cool slightly. Add in the frozen raspberries if using them and put the jelly into the fridge to set for 4-5 hours.
- Next make the custard. Using a heavy based saucepan, heat the milk and cream over a gentle heat until bubbles start to form. Split the vanilla pod and add it or the vanilla bean paste or extract. Don’t let it boil as the mix may split.
- Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until light and fluffy. I use a lot of cornflour here as I want the custard to be quite thick. When the milk and cream mixture is hot, remove the vanilla pod and very slowly pour it into the eggs, whisking the whole time. You need to be careful at this stage so that the eggs don’t scramble. That is why you slowly add the hot milk to the eggs and whisk so that the eggs gently come up to temperature and don’t cook at this stage.
- When all of the hot mixture has been added to the eggs, pour the custard back into the saucepan and heat very gently, stirring the whole time. If it looks as though the eggs will split at any time take it off the heat and whisk furiously.
- After about 10-15 minutes your custard should have thickened up nicely. Pour the custard into a bowl and cover with clingfilm, pressing the film onto the surface of the custard to stop a skin from forming. Put the custard into the fridge to cool and set some more.
When ready to assemble:
- Break up or slice the madeira cake or sponge and pour over the sherry to soak into the cake. Whip the cream in another bowl.
- Take the jelly and custard out of the fridge. Pour the custard over the jelly and gently use a spatula to spread it in an even layer.
- Gently put the cake pieces in a layer over the custard. Place some fresh raspberries around the edge of the cake. Spoon in the whipped cream and top with the remaining fresh raspberries and seeds from the pomegranate. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge until ready to serve.