Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Festive Food Traditions // A Retro Christmas Trifle

If there's one thing I love about Christmas, it's the food. Whether it's a festive meal in a local restaurant, Christmas dinner on the big day, home made mince pies or a Boxing Day buffet. There's something to be said about getting together with loved ones at Christmas time and sharing a delicious meal. 

The varied traditions surrounding food all around the world at this time of year are so fascinating. I remember last year writing about Finland at Christmas and admiring how differently we celebrate the season here in the UK when it comes to serving food. From Italian Semifreddo to German Stollen, each country has something different and equally delicious to offer!
Waitrose have recently launched their festive campaign which is complete with a comprehensive guide to Christmas Traditions from all over. If you'd like to try something a little different this year, why not hop over to their website and inspire yourself with their many recipes which includes a scrumptious sounding beetroot and dark chocolate yule log.

Waitrose got in touch with me recently and asked me if I would like to write about family food traditions in our household*. Christmas for us is a crazy busy time of birthdays, celebrations and visiting family as I'm sure it is for most folks! Christmas is eating too much food and overdosing on chocolate, playing games, relaxing, being together and listening to far too much cheesy festive music. Shakin' Stevens, anyone?! 

When I think of Christmas food and our traditions, there's one thing that instantly comes to mind for me.... my mum's Christmas day trifle. I honestly don't have a sweet tooth for 99% of the year but something funny happens to me on Christmas morning and all of a sudden I'm all about the puddings. I just can't get enough! 
Trifle is one of those things we don't have on any other day of the year, only on Christmas day. It's usually served in the evening following a round of turkey sandwiches, salad and endless savoury treats. My mum usually plonks it in the middle of the table and it tends to be one of those situations where you really try to not eat too much so you can leave room for the pudding. It's so good! 

I wanted to share the recipe for the trifle today. The thing I love about trifle is it that it's a retro Christmas classic but there are endless opportunities to mix it up a little when it comes to fillings and toppings! There really are no rules when it comes to putting this dessert together. It's so much fun to make.... and even more fun to eat, of course! This one usually serves around 10 people and is quite a large dessert so adjust the ingredients according to your needs!


  • 2 packets of raspberry jelly
  • 1 packet of trifle sponges
  • Raspberry jam
  • 400g frozen or fresh fruit (we used bags of frozen raspberries and tropical fruit from Waitrose)
  • A large tin of mandarin segments in juice
  • Custard powder
  • A large tub of double cream
  • Alcohol (Sherry is traditional but we used a bit of Malibu too in this one for a tropical twist!)
  • 1 pint of whole milk (for the custard)
  • Topping ideas - glace cherries, flaked almonds, festive sugar sprinkles, small biscuits, etc
  • Popping candy (to serve) 

1) Halve the trifle sponges and spread the middle with raspberry jam. Pop them back together and line the bottom of a trifle bowl (or any large bowl will do!) with them. 

2) Pour in a generous amount of your chosen alcohol (we used 50/50 Harveys signature cream sherry and Malibu), enough to soak the sponges. 

3) Next up, layer your fruit on top of the sponges. We used raspberries, tropical fruit and mandarin segments. 

4) Make up the jelly according to the instructions on the packet. Let it cool a little then pour over the fruit and trifle sponges. After this, pop the whole thing in the fridge to set for a few hours.

5) Once the jelly has set, make the custard according to the instructions. Make enough to cover about an inch of your trifle bowl! 

6) Empty the double cream into a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. You can add a drop of vanilla essence or a heaped teaspoon of icing sugar to sweeten the cream if you wish but this is totally optional! 

7) Once you have made the custard and cream toppings, remove the trifle bowl from the fridge and layer on the custard and then the cream topping. 

8) All that's left to do after this is decorating the top of your trifle! I used a mixture of glace cherries, flaked almonds and adorable little Christmas holly sugar sprinkles from Waitrose. We also picked up an amazing little lazy baking set to make some Christmas shortbread star biscuits which we whipped up in less than half an hour. They made a lovely centrepiece and there were plenty left to share afterwards too! 

9) As a final twist, why not serve up your trifle complete with a sprinkling of popping candy? It'll be sure to surprise your guests and it goes really well with a dessert like this! Make sure you only sprinkle when you're ready to serve as it start popping as soon as it hits the trifle! 

Are you a fan of the Christmas trifle? And do you have any favourite Christmas food traditions? Let me know in a comment! 

* I was compensated with a Waitrose voucher to buy the ingredients for this post but as always, all words are my own.


  1. Oooh, this is definitely my kind of trifle!! I made a Yule Log for the first time last year which my boys loved, so I think that will be a new tradition for us. I also love those holly sprinkles, I must pick some up next time I'm in town. :-)

  2. This looks SOOO tasty! You've definitely got me craving some festive deserts now! Love that the recipe includes Malibu! <3 xx


  3. My mum tends to make a trifle everywhere and although i'm not a massive fan it wouldn't be Christmas without it! x

  4. Ah this looks so yummy! Will have to try this out at some point, I love trifle! - Tasha