Try Jemma Melvin’s impressive trifle – which beat 5,000 rivals to be named the official Platinum Pudding – which is a crowd-pleasing summer dessert.
For this recipe you will need two Swiss roll tins, measuring approximately 24cm x 34cm and a trifle dish with capacity of approximately 3.5 litres. However, you could always halve the recipe to serve 10. For shortcuts to this recipe, see Jemma’s top tips below.
prep time: Over 2 hours
Cook time: 35 minutes, plus setting time
For the Swiss rolls
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 100g self-raising flour, sieved
- Butter, for greasing
For the Lemon curd
- 4 large free-range egg yolks
- 135g granulated sugar
- 85g salted butter, softened
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 80ml fresh lemon juice
For the St Clement’s jelly
- 6 jelly leaves
- 4 unwaxed lemons
- 3 oranges
- 150g golden caster sugar
for the custard
- 425ml double cream
- 3 large free-range egg yolks
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp lemon extract
For the amaretti biscuits
- 2 free-range egg whites
- 170g caster sugar
- 170g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp amaretto
- Butter or oil, for greasing
For the chunky mandarin coulis
- 4 x 397g tinned mandarins
- 45g caster sugar
- 16g arrowroot (2 sachets)
- ½ lemon, juice only
For the jeweled chocolate bark
- 50g mixed peel
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (optional)
- 200g white chocolate, broken into pieces
To make the Swiss rolls
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the two Swiss roll tins with baking paper. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric hand whisk for approximately 5 minutes or until light and pale. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the flour. Divide between the two tins and bake for 10–12 minutes or until the sponges are lightly golden and cooked through.
- Sprinkle some extra caster sugar on two sheets of baking paper then turn the sponges out onto the sugared paper. Peel off the paper from the underside and, while still warm, roll them both up from the short end into a tight spiral using the paper to help. Leave to cool.
To make the lemon curd
- Place the egg yolks, granulated sugar, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Whisk until combined and whisk continuously as the curd cooks until thickened. This should take about 15 minutes. Pour into a clean bowl and set aside to cool.
To make the St Clement’s jelly
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 6 strips from a lemon and 6 strips from an orange and put these into a saucepan with the sugar and 400ml water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and discard the peel.
- Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and stir into the pan until dissolved then leave to cool. Squeeze the lemons and oranges, so you have 150ml of both lemon and orange juice. Stir into the pan then strain the jelly through a fine sieve into a jug and chill until cool but not set.
To make the amaretti biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until firm. Mix the sugar and almonds gently into it. Add the amaretto and fold in gently until you have a smooth paste.
- Place some baking paper on a baking tray and lightly brush with butter or oil. Using a teaspoon, place small heaps of the mixture approximately 2cm apart, as they will expand during cooking. Bake for approximately 15–20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the chunky mandarin coulis
- Strain two tins of mandarins. Discard the juice and put the fruit into a saucepan with the sugar and heat gently until broken down. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, stir the arrowroot with 2 tablespoons cold water to make a paste, then add to the warm mandarins. Add the lemon juice and mix well before pouring into a large bowl. Strain the remaining two tins of mandarins and add the fruit to the bowl then leave to cool completely.
To make the jeweled chocolate bark
- If the peel feels wet or sticky, roll in the caster sugar to absorb any moisture. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Pour the white chocolate onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and scatter over the mixed peel. Leave to set then break into shards.
- Unroll the cooled Swiss rolls and spread with the lemon curd. Roll back up again and slice one into 2.5cm slices and place upright around the bottom edge of the trifle dish so the swirl is visible. Slice the other Swiss roll into thicker pieces and use these to fill the bottom of the dish, ensuring the top is roughly the same level as the slices that line the edge. Use off-cuts of sponge to fill any gaps.
- Pour the St Clement’s jelly over the Swiss roll layer and set aside in the fridge to completely set. This will take approximately 3 hours. Once set, pour over the custard then arrange a single layer of amaretti biscuits, keeping a few back for the top. Pour over the mandarin coulis. In a large bowl, whip the double cream until soft peaks form then spoon this over the coulis. Crumble over the reserved amaretti biscuits and decorate with the chocolate bark shards.
Jemma’s top tips
To simplify this recipe, you can use ready-made versions for most of the components and just make the Swiss rolls and mandarin coulis from scratch. For the lemon curd, use 300g ready-made lemon curd. Instead of the St Clement’s jelly, use one packet of lemon-flavoured jelly and follow the packet instructions to make 568ml.
For the custard, use 500ml ready-made custard. For the biscuits, use 100g ready-made amaretti biscuits. Instead of making the jeweled chocolate bark, you can finish this trifle by scattering over the reserved amaretti biscuits, mixed peel and 50g white chocolate chunks.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.