Classic old-fashioned trifle


  • 1 x 400g can pears in natural juice
  • 1 packet trifle sponges containing 8 sponges
  • strawberry jam
  • 75ml medium dry sherry
  • about 10 ratafia biscuits, or broken almond biscuits such as macaroons
  • 600ml bought good-quality fresh vanilla custard
  • 300ml double cream
  • 25g flaked almonds, lightly toasted (see Tip)

Classic old-fashioned trifle


It wouldn’t be Christmas without trifle! This is a reliable traditional recipe which is always popular with my family. There are now some very good ready-made fresh vanilla custards in the supermarket, but of course you can make your own fresh custard if you prefer


  1. Drain the pears, reserving the juice, then cut the fruit into small pieces. Split the trifle sponges in half and sandwich together with the strawberry jam. Measure the sherry into a jug and make up to 150ml with the reserved pear juice. If you don’t wish to have sherry in your trifle then use all of the pear juice – about 150ml.

  2. Put half the chopped pears into the base of a glass serving dish of about 20cm in diameter and 6cm deep. Arrange half the trifle sponges on top, then add the remaining pears and finally the remaining sponges. Scatter the ratafias on top and pour the sherry and pear juice mixture over evenly.

  3. Carefully pour the custard over the top. Lightly whip the cream until it just holds its shape and spoon carefully over the custard. Smooth or fluff the surface. Serve chilled. Sprinkle with the toasted flaked almonds just before serving.

TIP - Flaked almonds can now be bought ready toasted but, if you do need to toast them
yourself, put them in a dry pan over a medium heat on the hob. Move them around with a wooden spoon and watch them like a hawk as they can quickly burn.

PREPARING AHEAD - This is an ideal dessert to make a day ahead as the flavours have time to mingle. Keep in the fridge. Scatter over the almonds just before serving.


This recipe is from: Mary Berry's Christmas Collection (Headline)