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






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (87 votes)


  • 500 ml (2 cups) Pedro Ximenez sherry*
  • leaves titanium-strength gelatine
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) raisins
  • 190 g shortbread biscuits
  • 50 g unsalted butter, melted
  • Toasted flaked almonds, to serve

Chocolate custard

  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot*
  • 125 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp good-quality cocoa

Caramel cream

  • 300 ml thickened cream
  • 200 g dulce de leche*

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 5 hours

Cooling time 20 minutes

Place 125ml sherry in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out excess water, then add to warm sherry. Stir to dissolve and strain into a trifle dish. Stir in raisins and remaining 375ml sherry. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

To make custard, place milk and cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to just below boiling point. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the hot milk mixture. Transfer to a clean saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 6 minutes or until it coats back of spoon. Remove from heat.

Place arrowroot in a jug with 80ml custard and stir until smooth. Return to custard in pan with chocolate and cocoa. Place over medium heat and whisk for 6 minutes or until very thick and chocolate has melted. Strain into a bowl through a fine sieve. Cover surface with plastic wrap, cool to room temperature, then chill for 1 hour.

Pulse shortbread in a food processor until resembles coarse crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Spoon over jelly.

To make caramel cream, whisk cream in a bowl until lightly thickened (not yet soft peaks). Place dulce de leche in a separate bowl and gradually stir in cream in 3 batches, stirring well after each addition. Spoon over shortbread and smooth the surface.

Spoon chocolate custard over caramel cream and smooth surface. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. Scatter with almonds just before serving.

* Pedro Ximénez is a type of sweet Spanish sherry, made using the white Pedro Ximénez grape. It is available from selected bottle shops.

* Arrowroot, from supermarkets, is a starch used as a thickening agent mainly for desserts.

* Dulce de leche is a Spanish caramel that is prepared by heating sweetened milk. It is available from delis and specialist food shops.


Photography by Ben Dearnley


As seen in Feast magazine, Dec/Jan 2013, Issue 27.