Christmas trifle

Adam Liaw
Christmas trifle.
Christmas trifle. Photo: William Meppem

When it comes to trifle, carefully constructed layers look fabulous but take a lot of time to get right. This rougher version avoids that but still looks great.


1 medium panettone, sliced

about 1kg mixed fresh seasonal fruits, cut into segments

100g dark chocolate, to serve

Vanilla custard

4 egg yolks

2 tbsp castor sugar

4 tsp cornflour

3 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Mascarpone cream

250g mascarpone

300ml thickened cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

Italian meringue

1 cup sugar

4 egg whites


For the vanilla custard, beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until pale and combined. Combine the milk and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring to a simmer then turn off the heat. Do not allow it to boil over. Pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then return the combined mixture to the saucepan over low heat. Continue whisking for about 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Whisk again and cover the top of the custard with cling film. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely cool.

For the mascarpone cream, whip the ingredients together until soft peaks form. To make the Italian meringue, heat the sugar in a small saucepan with ½ cup of water over a medium heat until the mixture reaches 110C. Beat the egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form. When the sugar reaches 116C, pour the sugar into the egg whites in a steady stream. Continue to beat the egg whites for about 10-15 minutes, until the bowl feels completely cool.

To assemble the trifle, arrange the custard, cream, seasonal fruit (think mangoes, peaches, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, blueberries etc) and the slices of panettone in irregular layers in an attractive trifle bowl. Top with the Italian meringue and blowtorch the meringue until lightly toasted. Scatter with a few more fruits and shave over a little chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Also try: Adam Liaw's prawn party, roasted salmon or roast crackling pork