Seven Layer Flourless Trifle

photoTraditions can form swiftly.  This is the story of a trifle which is actually anything but. If what you need is seven layers of alternating jelly, torte, fruits, citrus curds, whipped cream and toasted coconut shards, quickly flick to the bottom. If you have time for for some context read on.

Time is not a fickle fancy for the folk this dessert fed. 

There’s a clutch of us who have sat down for lunch together for more two decades now. The days have been long, but the years have been short. In the beginning it was in uniform blackwatch tartan skirts on cold asphalt sheltering next to brutal brick red walls. Now things are both more-  and less civilised. There’s a small tribe of minis who circle our knees and ankles, getting lovingly passed down the table along with sweet potato salads and red wine.

The first time I made a trifle like this was for my nuclear family Christmas. It was a summery, tropical affair (appropriate for  Sydney celebrations, when the December day agenda usually involves a spell at the beach).  It was layered with coconut and passionfruit, mango and cream.

The second time was for my urban family at our own belated festivities.

And now, six months later we’ve called back Christmas. Yesterday we gathered around another long table for a winter twist on the holiday. We nestled into the cold, drank mulled wine made in a slow cooker, ate an enormous ham glazed with maple syrup, mustard and studded heavily with cloves. There were rich potato bakes and rustic salads tumbled with roasted vegetables, a vermillion platter of beetroot and gin cured salmon and a sprout and cabbage slaw. For pudding there was Swedish apple cake and a bread and butter pudding made from cinnamon buns. And then there was the beast.  This trifle was three days in the making, layering each level of jelly, giving it time to let it set and then an overnight rest for the soaked torte before the curd and cream were added.

Digging down into the trifle is like edible archeology; on each strata you find something a little new; different textures, colours, degrees of sweetness and acidity.

If you wanted to get philosophical about it, you could say it’s the perfect pudding for a group who have known and loved each other for a long time.

Or you could just dig in and enjoy.

Seven Layer Flourless Trifle


Feeds 12-14


1 x 20 cm trifle bowl (with capacity of 1.2 L of fluid)

Layer 1 Pomegranate Jelly with berries

300 ml  pomegranate juice
2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
3 1/2 sheets of gelatine (or 6 g of powdered gelatine)
1/2 cup of frozen blackberries (or raspberries)


Bring the juice and the sugar to a simmer in a saucepan. If you are using leaf gelatine, allow it to soften in cold water, then squeeze out the excess liquid and whisk it into the simmering juice. If you are using powdered gelatine, sprinkle it in and whisk well to combine. Allow the liquid to cool to warm, then pour into the trifle bowl and place the frozen berries throughout. Transfer to the fridge and allow to set, for at least 6 hours (overnight is ideal).

Coconut Jelly

400 ml can of coconut milk
2 tbsp honey/ coconut sugar or caster sugar
8 g powdered gelatine


Combine the coconut milk with the sugar or honey in a saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Add the powdered gelatine and whisk well to combine. Continue to whisk occasionally until it comes to body temperature, to ensure the gelatine is well incorporated. When it is at body temperature take the trifle out of the fridge and pour the coconut jelly mix down into the trifle bowl, over the back of a spoon (this will help disperse the weight and prevent it from breaking the lower layer of jelly). Return to the fridge to set for 6 hours, or overnight.

Flourless chocolate almond torte

275 g pitted dates
250 ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarb soda
75 g butter
3 eggs
50 g cocoa powder
150 g ground almonds
3/4 cup of mixed frozen berries


Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F and grease and line a 20 cm springform cake pan. Combine the dates, bicarb soda, butter and boiling water in a blender. Allow to steep for five minutes, then blend until you have a smooth slurry. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. Fold in the cocoa powder and ground almonds. Pour into the baking dish and top with the frozen berries. Bake for 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Wrap the cake in clingfilm and transfer to the freezer (this will make it easier to trim). When the cake is frozen trim the edges to ensure it will fit neatly into the trifle bowl. Then cut the cake in half. You will only need the top half of the cake. Freeze the bottom for when you want to make the trifle again (or eat).


1x 670g jar of morello cherries, drained (2 tbsp juice reserved)
2 tbsp kirsch/ or other berry liqueur

Top the cake with the drained cherries. Pour over a mix of kirsch (if not feeding to children) and berry liqueur, or a combination of both. Allow to settle for a few hours in the fridge before topping with the chilled mandarin curd.

Mandarin Curd

2 mandarins
1 orange
1 lemon
175 g caster sugar or honey
4 egg yolks
1 egg
50 g butter (or coconut oil/ ghee)

Zest and juice the citrus. Whisk together all of the ingredients and place in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously for 7-10 minutes, until it thickens to the consistence of custard. If there are lumps, strain before transferring to a tupperware and allow to chill in the fridge. Once it has chilled transfer to the top of the cherries in the trifle bowl and return to the fridge for 30 minutes before adding the cream.

Whipped Cream
300 ml whipping cream or coconut cream

Whip to medium peaks and gently spread on top of the curd.

Berries and Coconut
200 g fresh berries
3 tbsp toasted coconut shards

Adorn the top of the trifle with berries and coconut shards.



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