Chefs' Recipes

Rhubarb, vanilla and gin trifle

Gin custard? Trust us on this one.

By Tiffany Jones
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking plus cooling, infusing, chilling
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Rhubarb, vanilla and gin trifle


  • 4 rhubarb stalks, peeled (peel reserved)
  • 250 gm caster sugar
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • ½ orange, finely grated rind only
  • 1 tbsp grenadine
  • 30 ml gin
  • 1 gelatine leaf (titanium strength), softened in cold water
Vanilla sponge
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 75 gm (½ cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 15 gm butter, melted
Gin custard
  • 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 75 gm (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 40 gm cornflour
  • ½ gelatine leaf (titanium strength), softened in cold water
  • 25 ml gin


  • 1
    For vanilla sponge, preheat oven to 200C. Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until doubled in volume (3-5 minutes). Sift over flour, carefully fold to combine, then fold in butter. Pour into a 22cm x 22cm baking tray lined with baking paper, bake until golden (5-7 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes, turn out, cool completely on a wire rack (10-15 minutes). Cut into 5cm squares, layer in bases of four 300ml-capacity glasses (there may be some sponge left over).
  • 2
    Reduce oven to 170C. Cut rhubarb into 6cm lengths, cut each lengthways into three pieces (reserve trimmings). Place in a small roasting pan, set aside. Combine sugar, wine, rind, grenadine, rhubarb trimmings and 100ml water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil over high heat, set aside to infuse (20 minutes). Strain syrup over rhubarb, cover closely with baking paper, then foil, bake until just tender (10-12 minutes). Cool in syrup, strain, reserve 300ml syrup. Add gin to reserved syrup, drizzle half over sponge, set aside.
  • 3
    Heat remaining syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to syrup, stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for gin custard, combine cream, milk and vanilla seeds in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat, remove from heat, stand to infuse (30 minutes). Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl to combine, set aside. Combine cornflour and 2 tbsp cream mixture in a separate bowl to form a thick paste, whisk into yolk mixture. Meanwhile, bring cream mixture to just below boiling over medium-high heat, then pour over yolk mixture, whisking continuously to combine. Pour into a clean saucepan and whisk continuously over medium-high heat until thick (4-6 minutes). Remove from heat, squeeze excess water from gelatine and whisk gelatine through cream mixture until dissolved. Add gin and cool slightly, then spoon over sponge and smooth top. Refrigerate until chilled (20-30 minutes).
  • 5
    Divide rhubarb jelly mixture among glasses and refrigerate until set (1-2 hours). Serve topped with baked rhubarb.


This recipe is from the September 2009 issue of .