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Dark berry trifle

A light, fizzy and fun dessert that's ready-made for Christmas.

By Alice Storey
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 50 mins cooking plus cooling, setting
  • Serves 20
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Dark berry trifle
The perfect festive dessert, this light, fruity trifle calls for a fun, fizzy wine with just the right amount of sweetness.


  • 1.5 kg blackberries or mulberries, plus extra to serve (see note)
  • 300 gm caster sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • 10 gelatine leaves (titanium strength), softened in cold water for 5 minutes
  • 300 ml pink moscato
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 330 ml crème de mûre (see note)
  • 1.25 kg crème fraîche
  • 150 ml milk, or enough to thin
  • 2 lemons, finely grated rind only
  • 40 gm (¼ cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 8 eggs, at room temperature
  • 250 gm raw caster sugar
  • 250 gm plain flour, sieved
  • 50 gm butter, melted and cooled


  • 1
    For sponge, preheat oven to 175C. Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until tripled in volume (7 minutes). Fold through flour in batches, fold in butter, pour into a 28cm-square cake tin lined with baking paper. Bake until golden and centre springs back when pressed (20-25 minutes). Cool in tin, turn out, halve sponge horizontally, trim each half to fit a 6 litre-capacity glass bowl, then remove from bowl and set aside, reserving trimmings.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, combine 1kg berries, sugar, 1 vanilla bean and seeds and 1.1 litres water in a large saucepan, simmer over low heat until infused (50 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve (discard solids), transfer 1 litre hot liquid to a bowl (reserve remainder). Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to bowl, stir to dissolve. Add moscato, lemon juice and 80ml crème de mûre. Strain half into trifle bowl, scatter over 250gm berries and refrigerate until set (2-2½ hours). Chill remaining berry jelly, removing from refrigerator if it starts to set.
  • 3
    Reduce 250ml remaining liquid (discard excess) over high heat to 50ml or until syrupy (10-15 minutes), refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, combine crème fraîche, milk, rind, icing sugar and remaining vanilla seeds in a bowl, adding extra milk if necessary until spreadable. Spread one-third over set jelly, top with a sponge round, fill any gaps with trimmings, drizzle with 125ml crème de mûre. Scatter over remaining berries, pour over remaining jelly (mixture should be starting to set). Refrigerate until set (2-2½ hours). Top with half the remaining crème fraîche mixture, then remaining sponge. Drizzle with remaining crème de mûre, top with remaining crème fraîche mixture. Cover, refrigerate overnight. Serve scattered with extra berries and drizzled with blackberry syrup.


Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. Crème de mûre is a blackberry liqueur available from good bottle shops. If unavailable, substitute crème de cassis. You can use frozen blackberries for the jelly and the syrup. Drink suggestion by Max Allen