Go big or go home! There is so much joy in making a giant trifle, getting a massive serving spoon, letting people dig in – and then going in for seconds. When British fruit is in its prime, you can’t go wrong with a bit of custard alongside. For this trifle, I’ve used bought sponge fingers, but you can use sliced madeira cake instead, if you prefer. And if jelly is not your thing, that’s OK, too: simply top the sponge with fresh berries before spooning on the custard.
Big fat summer trifle
You’ll need a large trifle dish for this, and to start it the day ahead.
Prep 20 min
Cook 30 min
Chill 4 hr +
For the custard
800ml double cream
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste)
3 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
A big pinch of salt
For the jelly
5 gelatine leaves
500ml elderflower and apple juice
1 x 175g pack sponge fingers
400g seasonal berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc)
600ml double cream, gently whipped
Sprinkles, to top (optional)
First make the custard. In a saucepan, warm the cream with half the sugar and the vanilla until it’s steaming. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the remaining 50g sugar and salt until combined.
Bring a pan of water to a simmer and set a heatproof bowl on top, making sure it isn’t touching the water. Pour the hot cream over the egg mixture, whisk well, then pour everything into the heatproof bowl and cook, stirring occasionally with a whisk, for 25-30 minutes, until the custard has thickened slightly: when you move the whisk, you’ll notice the mix has some more body to it and isn’t completely liquid.
Pour the custard into a heatproof container, leave to cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.
Now for the jelly. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of ice-cold water. In a small pan, gently warm the elderflower and apple juice until steaming. When the gelatine has softened, squeeze out all the excess water, add the leaves to the juice pan and stir with a whisk until melted. Set aside while you start building the trifle.
Put a layer of the sponge fingers in the base of a large trifle bowl – you don’t have to be too precise – then scatter some of the fruit on top. Pour the jelly mix over the top, leave to cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge to set for at least four hours. During this time, the sponge fingers will soak up quite a bit of the liquid, but don’t be alarmed.
Once the jelly has set, sprinkle the remaining fruit on top, then spoon over the now cold and set thick custard. Top with lightly whipped cream and, if you’re like me, some sprinkles, and serve cold.