Chef's Recipes

Adriano Zumbo: Rice pudding trifle with saffron jelly and mango and mint salsa

Australian Gourmet Traveller Christmas dessert recipe for rice pudding trifle with saffron jelly and mango and mint salsa by Adriano Zumbo.

By Adriano Zumbo
  • 2 hrs preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus cooling, setting
  • Serves 18
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Adriano Zumbo: Rice pudding trifle with saffron jelly and mango and mint salsa
“If you want to cheat you can buy tinned corn, Top Taste rollettes, creamed rice and Aeroplane jelly. Go for it, but you’ll really be cheating yourself.”


  • 135 gm caster sugar
  • 3 lemons, finely grated rind and juice only
  • 2 eggs
  • 165 gm butter, coarsely chopped, at room temperature
Honey sponge
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 150 gm honey
  • 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour, sieved
  • For dusting: dessicated coconut
Rice pudding crème
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream
  • 200 ml milk
  • 140 gm jasmine rice
  • 2 gm (5mm piece) ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4 cardamon pods, bruised
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 850 ml pouring cream
  • 150 gm light palm sugar, finely shaved
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 1 gelatine leaf (titanium strength), softened in cold water
Saffron jelly
  • 900 ml sparkling mineral water
  • ½ tsp (firmly packed) saffron threads
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • 6 gm (2½ tsp) agar agar (see note)
Mango, pineapple, sweet corn and mint salsa
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 1 pineapple, diced
  • 2 corn cobs, kernels removed
  • 1 bunch mint, finely chopped


  • 1
    Whisk sugar, rind, juice and eggs in a saucepan to combine. Bring to the simmer over medium heat, stirring continuously, strain through a sieve into a bowl, cool slightly, then gradually whisk in butter. Cover closely with plastic wrap, refrigerate until chilled (1-2 hours).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for honey sponge, preheat oven to 180C. Combine 6 egg yolks and 3 eggwhites in an electric mixer with honey and whisk until pale, fluffy and mousse-like (6-7 minutes). Whisk remaining eggwhite in a separate bowl until firm peaks form (1-2 minutes), fold into honey mixture, then fold in flour. Spread to 1cm thick on three 20cm x 30cm baking trays lined with baking paper, smooth tops. Bake, swapping trays partway through cooking, until light golden and centre springs back when lightly pressed (8-10 minutes), then turn each onto a piece of baking paper dusted with dessicated coconut and cool to room temperature. Peel off paper, spread each sponge with one-third of lemon mixture, roll lengthways into cylinders, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for rice pudding crème, combine coconut cream, milk, rice, ginger, cardamom, vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan with 300ml cream. Stir continuously until rice is just tender (15-17 minutes), add sugars, stir to dissolve. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to rice mixture, stir to dissolve. Remove ginger, cardamom and vanilla, transfer to a bowl placed over iced water, cool to room temperature (25-30 minutes). Whisk remaining cream until soft peaks form, fold into cooled rice mixture, refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for saffron jelly, combine ingredients in a saucepan, whisk occasionally over medium heat until simmering (5-6 minutes). Pour into a 20cm x 30cm tray, refrigerate until set (20-30 minutes). Cut into 1.5cm cubes, refrigerate until required.
  • 5
    For salsa, combine ingredients, set aside.
  • 6
    To assemble, slice roulade into 1cm-thick slices and layer in base of a 3½-4 litre-capacity deep serving bowl. Spoon over half the rice pudding crème, top with half the salsa, then half the saffron jelly. Repeat with remaining rice crème, salsa and jelly. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving; trifle is best eaten on day of making.


Note Agar agar is available in powder form from select health-food shops and Asian grocers. This recipe is from the December 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.

  • Author: Adriano Zumbo