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A Christmas Trifle from Mary Berry

Daniel Hautzinger
Mary Berry's Christmas Trifle

On Thursday, December 14 at 8:00 pm, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood return with their characteristic British charm to teach and demonstrate some holiday recipes in The Great British Baking Show Christmas Masterclass"Christmas is all about showing off," Mary says. "Something that people are going to say, 'Did you really make it?'" 

While this Christmas trifle isn't quite elaborate as some of the things Paul and Mary make (a meringue wreath, a Christmas tree of Chelsea buns), it's still impressive, and, more importantly, delicious. 

Christmas Trifle


For the fruit compote:
2½ cups water
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
9 oz ready to eat, dried apricots
5½ oz dried, sweet cranberries
5½ oz dried pineapple

For the custard:
3 large egg yolks
2½ tbsp corn starch
3½ tbsp caster sugar
2½ cups milk
1¼ cup cream

For the filling:
16 trifle sponges (or ladyfingers)
½ jar of apricot jam
20 ratafias (almond-flavored cookies)
1 cup medium-dry sherry

To decorate:
2½ cups double pouring cream
¼ cup flaked almonds, toasted


1. First, make the fruit compote. Pour the water into a large pan, add the lemon zest and bring to a boil. Add the apricots, cranberries, and pineapple, reserving 2 apricots and 5 cranberries for decoration. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove form the heat and leave to cool for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Once cool, strain the fruit, reserving the syrup.

2. For the custard, put the egg yolks, cornflour, and sugar into a large bowl and stir together with a whisk. Heat the milk and cream together in a pan until hot but not boiling. Gradually whisk into the yolks, then return the mixture to the pan. Stir over a high heat until the mixture just comes to a boil and the custard thickens. Take off the heat, cover, and allow to cool.

3. Split the trifle sponges and spread generously with apricot jam. Sandwich together and arrange in the base of a 4 quart trifle dish, close together, cutting to fit if necessary. Crumble the ratafias over the top.

4. Combine 1 cup of the reserved fruit syrup with the sherry and sprinkle over the sponge and crumbled biscuits. Level the surface by pressing down with a spoon.

5. Scatter the plump fruit from the compote over the sponge, then spread the cooled custard over the fruit. Cover and leave until completely cold before transferring to the fridge to chill and set.

6. Beat the cream until just stiff enough to hold a soft, floppy shape. Spoon half into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and gently spread the remaining half over the surface of the set custard and scatter with the almonds. Pipe blobs of cream around the edge of the trifle bowl. Halve the reserved apricots, then slice thinly. Cut each cranberry into three small pieces. Put a piece of apricot and a piece of cranberry on each blob of cream to decorate. Cover and chill until ready to serve. The trifle can be covered with clingfilm and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days before serving.