RECIPE | Summer berry trifle

For many the best part of the Christmas meal is a large helping of trifle. This one can be made 12 hours before serving

09 December 2018 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Summer berry trifle.
Summer berry trifle.
Image: 123RF

Serves: 6

Egg Custard:

600ml milk

1 vanilla pod or 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

45ml (3 tbsp) caster sugar

30ml (2 tbsp) cornflour

Other ingredients:

1 x vanilla sponge cake, cut into blocks

60ml (4 tbsp) sherry, optional

1 punnet strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced in half

1 punnet blueberries, rinsed

250ml (1 cup) cream, lightly whipped

Icing sugar


  1. To make the egg custard, heat the milk and vanilla pod in a pot until it just comes to the boil. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large mixing bowl. Pour milk over the egg mixture and whisk till smooth. Strain and pour back into pot, whisking to bring to a simmer till thickened and mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool.
  2. To assemble the trifle, place ⅓ of the cake cubes in the bottom of a medium glass bowl. Sprinkle over 20ml of the sherry if using. Top with ⅓ of the berries then pour over ⅓ of the custard. Repeat the layers, reserving some of the berries for decoration, ending with custard. Pour over the cream and refrigerate covered, until serving.
  3. Before serving, top the cream with remaining berries and dust with icing sugar if desired.


  • If you prefer you can make the custard using custard powder. To make a custard of medium consistency use 45ml (3tbsp) custard powder and 45ml (3 tbsp) sugar to 500ml (2 cups of milk).
  • You can add jelly to the trifle. Make up according to package instructions and for a thicker jelly reduce the water added by 50ml. Pour the jelly over the sponge and fruit. Allow to set before adding another layer.
  • For a tropical flavour, replace the berries with 1 large mango, peeled and cubed or a mixture of mango and fresh pineapple, and use rum instead of the sherry.