Sponge soaked with masala or sherry, fresh raspberries, vanilla custard topped with a boozy syllabub, this raspberry syllabub trifle makes a fantastic indulgent dessert.
I love trifle in all its forms and I might even go as far as to say that it is possibly my favourite dessert, which is quite a bold statement given that I love most desserts - a little too much perhaps!
What makes the perfect trifle?
That's a hard question to answer. Is a trifle, a trifle if it doesn't have jelly? Well yes I would say it is, but I know there are people out there who wouldn't agree.
When I was a little girl, our trifles always consisted of a layer of sponge (usually from a Swiss roll) topped with tinned fruit and set in jelly (made up with juice from the can of fruit). This was topped with a layer of set blancmange - and I can't remember the last time I had blancmange, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with coloured sugar sprinkles.
Later the blancmange was replaced with a soft set custard and after I had left home and my adult tastes developed I started making my trifles laced with sherry, and finally, imagine the shock - I finally found myself experimenting with trifles without jelly at all! It wasn't a trifle as I knew it, but I still loved it. In fact, I couldn't decide if I liked it more or not. Truth be told, I think with or without jelly, trifle is just fab!
I've taken it one step further and topped this trifle with syllabub - I used Marsala wine but you could use any sweet dessert wine or sherry. It's definitely one for adults only.
Over the years since I have eaten many variations both with and without jelly but this is probably my favourite.
If you are a jelly trifle fan you might like to try my free-standing raspberry trifle which is on my other blog Only Crumbs Remain. Here I have taken a classic layered jelly trifle and served it in an unusual way.
What makes the perfect trifle for you? I hope you like this one as much as I do but either way, do let me know which camp you fall into:
- No jelly
- Jelly or no jelly just give me any trifle, now!
To make the trifle you will need:
- boudoir biscuits – (sponge fingers) or trifle sponges
- ratafia biscuits – sometime called Amaretti biscuits (cookies)
- Marsala wine – a fortified wine, can be dry or sweet, and is produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily.
- raspberries – fresh or frozen can be used in the trifle but fresh are best for decoration.
- milk – full cream is best, semi at a push.
- vanilla extract – Look for the word extract and avoid vanilla essence which may be an artificial flavouring.
- eggs – medium or large
- caster sugar - white or golden
- cornflour – (US = cornstarch)
- double cream – (US = heavy cream)
- pistachios – to decorate
Booze – I like the unique flavour of Marsala wine which is delicious in a syllabub. If it's not readily available or you don't want to buy it just to make the dessert a sweet sherry or dessert wine can also be used.
Fruit – you can use other soft berries in place of the raspberries. Use frozen fruit out of season in the trifle.
To decorate – I used some extra raspberries and sprinkled the top with some chopped pistachio nuts. Toasted flaked almonds or silver dragees (sugar balls) would also look pretty.
How to make a raspberry syllabub trifle step by step
To make the custard
1 Whisk the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks to a smooth paste.
2 Add the whole egg and whisk again.
3 Heat the milk until almost boiling, then gradually whisk into the egg mixture.
4 Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook whisking until thickened. Whisk in the vanilla extract and allow to cool.
To make the syllabub
1 Place the cream, sugar, lemon zest, juice and marsala in a mixing bowl.
2 Whisk together until thickened.
1 Arrange sponge biscuits in the base of a trifle bowl and sprinkle with the marsala.
2 spread the raspberries over the sponge, then break ratafia biscuits into pieces and scatter on top.
3 Spread the cooled custard over the top and level.
4 Add spoonfuls of the syllabub over the top of the custard and decorate with raspberries and nuts
Suitable for vegetarians
Being jelly free this trifle is suitable for vegetarians.
Raspberry syllabub trifle
- mixing bowl
- balloon whisk
- baking parchment
- serving bowl
- measuring spoons
for the custard
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (US = cornstarch)
- 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 500 ml (18floz) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the trifle
- 8 boudoir biscuits broken into chunks
- 3 tablespoons sweet marsala wine, sherry or dessert wine
- 300 g (11oz) fresh or frozen raspberries
- 75 g ratafia biscuits (amaretti biscuits)
for the syllabub
- 600 ml (1pt) double cream (US = heavy cream)
- 4 tablespoons golden caster sugar
- 150 ml (¼pt) sweet marsala wine , sherry or dessert wine
- grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- extra raspberries
- chopped pistachios flaked almonds or silver dragees
To make the custard
- Place 1 tablespoon cornflour, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and 3egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until smooth, then whisk in one whole egg.
- Heat 500ml (18floz) milk until almost boiling then gradually pour onto the egg mixture while whisking well.
- Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering hot water and keep whisking until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cover with a sheet of dampened parchment, and allow to cool.
To make the trifle
- Spread 8 boudoir biscuits in the bottom of a serving bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons marsala wine, sherry or dessert wine. Pile 300g (11oz) raspberries on top.
- Break 75g (3oz) ratafia biscuits into pieces and scatter over the raspberries. When the custard is cool spoon over the raspberries and biscuits and level the top. Chill.
To make the syllabub
- Place 600ml (1pt) cream, 4 tablespoons sugar, 150ml (¼pt) marsala, sherry or dessert wine. in a mixing bowl and add the grated zest. and juice of 1 lemon. Whisk until it is just holding its shape. Carefully spoon over the custard.
- Just before serving arrange a few extra raspberries on top and sprinkle with nuts or dragees
This post was first published on the 14th December 2015 and has been republished with updated images and text.