Australian/ Christmas/ Dessert/ Recipes/ Super Simple

Super Easy Australian Trifle with Custard

26/10/2020

This is THE Aussie trifle for busy cooks. Perfect for celebrations or Christmas, we’ve made this quick, easy and hassle free. Loaded with custard, cream and iconic port wine jelly for an Australian trifle to impress!

Filled trifle bowl of jelly, custard and cream.

Why We Love This

While this is a stunning looking dessert on the table, it couldn’t be easier to make this at home.

There’s something about the combination of custard and cream paired with jelly soaked cake and fruit that just makes you want to eat bowl after bowl. Even when you know you should stop!

Australian trifle with custard and port wine jelly.

What is Trifle? 

Trifle is an English dessert recipe that we grew up with. Both our Grandma’s would make this – complete with sprinkles on top as an absolute kid’s dream!

This is the Australian trifle version most well known in our area and what we grew up with. The typical layers in a trifle are jelly, custard and cream – although there are many variations of this around the world. You’ll often come across this served up at Christmas or family celebrations, alongside plates of lamingtons or pavlova meringue.

What You’ll Need

This is a ‘throw together’ recipe, with nice and easy ingredients, and a few pre-made items. While the majority of our recipes are from scratch, this was usually made with as many shortcuts as possible – so we’ve got jelly packets, pre-made custard and store-bought cake. This dish is as hands-off as you can get, while still having the best taste and presentation.

  • Jelly – Port Wine Jelly (or Jello for Americans) is one of the most popular flavours for the jelly base. You can use whatever flavour you prefer though, raspberry and blackberry also make nice bases.
  • Swiss Jam Roll – We use Swiss rolls from the store, but it’s also popular to use madeira cake, Italian sponge fingers like in tiramisu or homemade Vanilla sponge cake. Whether you slice it or chop it into squares is completely up to you and the presentation you want to achieve.
  • Custard – You can make your own, or if you’re using shortcuts, do what we did and buy double thick custard. Buy the best and thickest you can find – this is crucial, as you need it to be strong enough to hold your cream and not let it sink.
Ingredients laid out for Australian Trifle.

How to make Trifle – The Aussie Way:

For the trifle base – jelly and cake layer:

  1. Pop your jelly crystals in a large mixing bowl and top with boiling water. Stir until crystals completely dissolve. Top up with cold water, stir through and set aside to cool.
  2. Slice jam scroll or cake into 1.5cm wide slices. Arrange in a single layer in a deep trifle dish. Optional: Then arrange one row of slices around the edge.
  3. Add the canned fruit into the middle. Carefully pour the jelly over the cake slices until just covered. Pop in the fridge for around 3 hours to set.

For the cream

  1. Pop the cream in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Optional: Add the vanilla essence and sugar. Whip on high speed until the cream thickens and holds a nice shape (around 3-5 minutes).

To assemble the custard and cream layers

  1. Once your jelly is set, use a large spoon to layer the custard over the jelly. Smooth off with the back of the spoon once all the custard had been added.
  2. Gently place spoonfuls of whipped cream over the custard. Then using a fork, very lightly spread the cream to cover the custard and make the third and final layer.
  3. Top with fresh fruit such as strawberries and blueberries and Optional: dust with a light sprinkle of icing sugar to finish.
  4. Serve immediately or keep chilled in the fridge until ready to dish up.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Layering – Best tip here is to slow down and be careful. Take your time when layering the cream on the custard in particular. Have a light hand as you spread it around so you don’t end up pushing the cream into the custard.
  • Fridge Space – This may seem obvious, but there’s nothing worse than pouring your jelly into the trifle dish, and realising your fridge is packed full for Christmas and there’s no space! So check the empty bowl fits on the shelf in the fridge BEFORE popping together your trifle.
  • Serving – A long handled ladle or spoon is best to scoop through all the layers and dish up each serving with an even amount of each layer.

FAQs

Can you freeze a trifle?

We wouldn’t recommend it. Trifle is best eaten fresh, and stored in the fridge. Eat within 2-3 days, otherwise the cake starts to disintegrate and it all turns to mush!

What’s the best way to present trifle?

The easiest way is to use a large glass trifle bowl to really show off the layers. However, if you don’t have one, just use any deep bowl, or serve them in individual glasses or ramekins.

Can I make this the day before?

Mostly! Just leave off the cream and toppings until you’re ready to serve. That way, the dessert will look its best.

Variations

  • Toppings – Have fun and get creative with your toppings. If fresh fruit isn’t your thing, you could try lollies, marshmallows, chocolate shavings or sprinkles instead. Some people also like to add crushed peanuts or even cookies like oreos.
Trifle layers showed off in a trifle bowl.

More recipes to help you celebrate:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and star rating below!

Strawberries and blueberries topped on a custard trifle.

Super Easy Australian Trifle with Custard

A simple, traditional trifle for busy cooks. Perfect for celebrations or Christmas, we've made this quick, easy and hassle free. Loaded with custard, cream and iconic port wine jelly for an Australian trifle to impress!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Jelly Setting Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, English
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 771kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Equipment

  • Trifle Bowl

Ingredients

For the trifle layers:

  • 400 g Swiss jam roll sliced, the older the better
  • 1.8 kg custard double thick
  • 2 packets port wine jelly makes 1 kg (2 pounds) of jelly
  • 1 cup canned fruit two fruits, peaches, pears etc
  • 600 ml thickened cream

Optional:

  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150 g sugar if you want a sweet cream
  • 1 tsp icing sugar for dusting
  • fresh fruit to top, like strawberries and blueberries

Instructions

For the trifle base – jelly and cake layer:

  • Pop your jelly crystals in a large mixing bowl and top with boiling water. Stir until crystals completely dissolve. Top up with cold water, stir through and set aside to cool.
  • Slice jam scroll or cake into 1.5cm wide slices. Arrange in a single layer in a deep trifle dish. Optional: Then arrange one row of slices around the edge. Add the canned fruit into the middle.
  • Carefully pour the jelly over the cake slices until just covered. Pop in the fridge for around 3 hours to set.

For the cream

  • Pop the cream in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Optional: Add the vanilla essence and sugar. Whip on high speed until the cream thickens and holds a nice shape (around 3-5 minutes).

To assemble the custard and cream layers

  • Once your jelly is set, use a large spoon to layer the custard over the jelly. Smooth off with the back of the spoon once all the custard had been added.
  • With another large spoon, gently place spoonfuls of whipped cream over the custard. Then using a fork, very lightly spread the cream to cover the custard and make the third and final layer.
  • Top with fresh fruit such as strawberries and blueberries and Optional: dust with a light sprinkle of icing sugar to finish.
  • Serve immediately or keep chilled in the fridge until ready to dish up.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Jelly – Port Wine Jelly (or Jello for Americans) is one of the most popular flavours for the jelly base. You can use whatever flavour you prefer though, raspberry and blackberry also make nice bases.
  • Swiss Jam Roll – We use Swiss rolls from the store, but it’s also popular to use madeira cake, Italian sponge fingers like in tiramisu or homemade Vanilla sponge cake. Whether you slice it or chop it into squares is completely up to you and the presentation you want to achieve.
  • Custard – You can make your own, or if you’re using shortcuts, do what we did and buy double thick custard. Buy the best and thickest you can find – this is crucial, as you need it to be strong enough to hold your cream and not let it sink.
  • Layering  – Best tip here is to slow down and be careful. Take your time when layering the cream on the custard in particular. Have a light hand as you spread it around so you don’t end up pushing the cream into the custard.
  • Fridge space – This may seem obvious, but there’s nothing worse than pouring your jelly into the trifle dish, and realising your fridge is packed full for Christmas and there’s no space! So check the empty bowl fits on the shelf in the fridge BEFORE popping together your trifle.
    Serving: A long handled ladle or spoon is best to scoop through all the layers and dish up each serving with an even amount of each layer.
  • Toppings – Have fun and get creative with your toppings. If fresh fruit isn’t your thing, you could try lollies, marshmallows, chocolate shavings or sprinkles instead. Some people also like to add crushed peanuts or even cookies like oreos.

Nutrition

Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 124g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 387mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 91g | Vitamin A: 1059IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 267mg | Iron: 2mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Super Easy Australian Trifle with Custard

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