The Famous Italian Trifle

Preparation time: hour Serves: 6


One for those who like a continental flavour to their trifles - it's a bit more like tiramisu than the traditional English trifle recipe


  • 1 Sponge cake, cut into half inch slices
  • 1/2 cup espresso coffee
  • 1/2 cup tia maria liqueur (or other coffee liqueur)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • Custard
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 100 grams dark cooking chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


To Make the Custard

Beat egg yolks and icing sugar in stainless steel bowl until pale yellow and creamy. Add plain flour and beat until combined. Place milk in saucepan over medium-high heat and bring gently to boil. Remove immediately from heat and gradually stir egg mixture in, beating all the time to ensure the egg doesn’t cook.

Place bowl over simmering water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened.

Divide into two smaller bowls and stir dark chocolate into one and vanilla into the other.


Place Tia Maria, brandy and coffee in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a large trifle bowl, start with a layer of vanilla custard, top with sponge and moisten sponge with coffee/liqueur mixture.

Repeat with a layer of chocolate custard, sponge, coffee/liqueur mixture and so on and finish with a layer of custard. Top with chocolate shavings (if there’s any left over!).

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or over night.




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