• Summer trifle with tropical fruits (The Great Australian Cookbook)Source: The Great Australian Cookbook
Trifle has become the unofficial queen of the decadent summer dessert. With a layer to suit everyone, it was only a matter of time...
22 Dec 2020 - 10:41 AM  UPDATED 22 Dec 2020 - 4:09 PM

Across the country, tables will be groaning under the pleasurable weight of alcoholic sponge, fruit, jelly, custard and cream. A merrier dessert than trifle would be hard to find.

It might have originated in England sometime in the 16th century, but these days the trifle is surely a bonafide Aussie citizen. So much has the classic recipe been trifled with, it's basically morphed into a brand-new dessert. The 'strifle' perhaps?

Summer called and it wants to dunk its cares into a trifle. We've got your covered!

Start here...
Make a better trifle
Trifle: a cornerstone of Christmas celebrations. But if you find this behemoth of a dessert intimidating, don't worry! We've got just the guide for you.

A Turkish delight

This Turkey-inspired trifle is proof of Australia's expertise in mashing up cultures to create perfection. Madeira cake and strawberries are soaked in rosewater, the jelly is port wine flavoured, the custard has a spritz of lemon and the vanilla cream is rose-scented. Heaven scent-ed, more like.

Pedro Ximenez jelly with chocolate and caramel layers

With dulce de leche cream, toasted almonds, chocolate custard, shortbread and a Spanish sherry jelly, we’re bringing sexy back to the festive trifle.

Boozey Christmas trifle

Christmas in summer means that we get a bounty of fresh berries and cherries for our year end celebrations. For this boozey trifle, try soaking the fruits in Grand Marnier, for a hint of zesty orange.

Banoffee and bacon rebellion

A banana, toffee, chocolate, shortbread mash-up shows that when it comes to trifle, anything goes. Yep, we said it. Please don't call the trifle police...

Pimped classic

This is the trifle they made before pimping trifles became a thing. It's all here: the tinned fruit, jam sponge roll, desiccated coconut and... bavarois. Wait a minute...

Freshly minted

Putting anything into trifle format makes it better. Here, brownies get the trifle treatment to huge acclaim.

Strawberry, basil and lemon trifle

Fragrant, sweet and fresh, basil brings something truly special to this festive trifle. 

Raspberry trifle

Stage 11, Vatan-Saint Fargeau: Gabriel Gaté hosts Taste Le Tour from the scenic wine region of Sancerre in the Loire Valley and introduces the local food, particularly the cheeses. Eccentric French gendarme, François, prepares a modern dessert of raspberries served in a glass with French custard known as verrine aux framboises.

Made with myrtle

Illawarra Plum & Lemon Myrtle Limoncello Trifle

If any trifle has earned the strifle title, it's this Illawarra plum & lemon myrtle limoncello version. Creamy, tart, boozy and memorable.

Ottolenghi revamp

A very French version of the trifle, Ottolenghi layers crème fraîche, apricots, honey and walnuts with amaretto-soaked madiera, then sprinkles lavender petals over the lot.

Express saver

Raspberry trifle

Hosting a festive lunch is stressful enough without having to wrangle a complicated dessert. These flash raspberry trifles will take just 15 minutes to put together.

Tiramisu perk up

A tiramisu-inspired trifle, with coffee-and-marsala soaked finger biscuits soaking up cumquat-scented ricotta. Marmalade will also do if cumquats are hard to come by.

Triple ginger trifle

Ginger, lemon and caramel is an unexpected combination, but in this updated version of a much-loved classic it is completely blissful, and far from conservative!

Ginger chai tiramisu

For me, my daily ginger chai is reviving, soothing and relaxing all at the same time. So combining my personal pick me up with the Italian classic, replacing the Italian coffee with Indian tea makes complete sense to me.

Add a lamo

Lamington trifle

Injecting lamington flavours into a trifle is pure genius. Step straight up to the strifle plate, lamington trifle!

Tropical twist

A little pinch of cayenne adds just the right amount of punch to this tropical trifle. It's a lighter version of trifle, using yoghurt and fresh fruit in place of jelly, cream and custard. Which means breakfast trifle is now a thing.

Extra fruity

Summer trifle with tropical fruits

Venturing far into pavlova territory with this one. Layers of meringue, mango and passionfruit jelly and two types of cream make this trifle endlessly spoonable.

Banana bread, raspberry and ricotta trifle

Leftover banana bread floating about? Just carve it up into little pieces and you’re halfway toward making this fantastic dessert. 

Raspberry trifle

Stage 11, Vatan-Saint Fargeau: Gabriel Gaté hosts Taste Le Tour from the scenic wine region of Sancerre in the Loire Valley and introduces the local food, particularly the cheeses. Eccentric French gendarme, François, prepares a modern dessert of raspberries served in a glass with French custard known as verrine aux framboises.

Iced VoVo

Iced Vovo trifle

The iconic flavours of the Iced VoVo bicky make a brilliant base for trifle magic. Katherine Sabbath's dessert is so good looking you probably won't want to eat it. Nah, that's not even remotely true.

Semolina layers

Basbousa, revani, ravani – whichever name it goes by, the Middle Eastern sugar syrup-laden semolina cake makes the perfect base for a trifle. Topped with custard, sour cherry jelly, meringue, cream and chocolate halva, the rich layers add plenty of wow-factor.

Beach rum

White rum brings the booze and tropical fruits the punch. Justine Schofield suggests bringing these mini rum and coconut trifles down to the beach, which is exactly what we'll be doing.

Custard hits
Steamed 'water egg' custard

In Cantonese, we call this dish ‘water egg’ – egg whisked with water and a dab of salt, then steamed until it becomes a smooth, soft savoury custard.

Coffee custard (caffè in forchetta)

If there’s one thing Italian’s can’t live without, it’s their coffee. In Tuscany, coffee is transformed into this creamy coffee custard, café in forchetta, which roughly means coffee on a fork.  

Banoffee custard pie

This here is a banoffee pie as it should be – where the caramel infuses a baked custard filling and is then topped with bananas.

Chai-spiced custard tarts

Portuguese custard tarts are one of those pastries that I just can’t go past and I love their rustic beauty. 

Rum baba with vanilla custard

This adults-only dessert was inspired by a visit to a distillery during my travels in the Kimberley. Steeped in rum syrup, these are brilliant with creme anglais, a light vanilla custard. 

Fried custard (crema fritta)

Hard-set little diamonds of custard rolled in breadcrumbs fried until golden, these made a delicious sweet treat to enjoy in winter.

Pandan custard

Forget custard powder. Packing a beautiful vibrant green, this Thai dessert is so easy. 

Churros with chocolate-custard sauce

These Spanish doughnuts are made for dunking in hot chocolate. Their distinctive star shape is the secret to a crunchy exterior and fluffy centre.

Baklava with custard filling

This version of the classic Lebanese pastry combines my two loves - custard and baklava, all wrapped up in filo and finished with fennel-spiced walnuts.