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Perfect match: trifle with moscato

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match dessert recipe for dark berry trifle.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 20
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 50 mins cooking plus cooling, setting
Dark berry trifle
Dark berry trifle

You know that when a grape variety or a wine style appears under a Jacob's Creek label it has jumped the fence from niche to mainstream. So with bottles of Jacob's Creek moscato lurking in bottleshop fridges across the country, I think we can safely say that this sweet, spritzy style is here to stay. Moscato is a great wine to have on hand during summer: as well as being a deliciously refreshing, fun drink on its own, it's also the best accompaniment to fruity, lighter desserts such as this trifle. Modelled on the gently sherbety moscato style popular in the north-west of Italy, the best Australian examples benefit from our advanced cool-fermentation techniques and our heritage of working with fruit from old muscat vineyards.The light alcohol (around 5 to 8 per cent) doesn't clash with any flavours or textures in the dessert, the sweetness of the wine can cope with the sugar without being cloying, and the sherbety fizz helps clean the palate. Pink moscatos have more fruit weight and flavour intensity than white moscatos thanks to the inclusion of red wine (or some contact with the skins of darker-coloured muscat grapes during fermentation), and this oomph is just what you need to match the richer flavour of the berries.

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