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Paul Ainsworth's Strawberry Trifle

Paul Ainsworth’s Strawberry Trifle

Ah, trifle. A quintessentially British pud. Delicious AND no baking required!

“I couldn’t think of a better dessert to share with family and friends than a proper trifle. At The Mariners in Rock we always have a seasonal trifle on the menu. This recipe involves a homemade strawberry jelly, proper thick vanilla custard, sponge fingers (of course!), fresh Cornish strawberries, a cheesecake topping and roasted salted hazelnuts. You can tweak it based on your favourite berries though, and spike the cream with booze for an adult-friendly kick.”


Makes 10-12 small individual trifles

For the cream cheese topping:
  • 250g crème fraiche
  • 700g Philadelphia
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 500g double cream
  • 1g vanilla seeds
For the strawberry jelly:
  • 1kg frozen or over ripe/soft strawberries
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 litres white wine
  • 5g hibiscus
  • ¼ bunch of thyme
  • 4 sheets of gelatin
For the custard:
  • 100ml double cream
  • 700ml whole milk
  • 4 rich egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 35g Birds custard powder
  • 2g vanilla seeds
  • 2 sheets gelatin
To finish and build the trifle:
  • 200g fresh ripe strawberries cut into wedges
  • 10 sponge fingers
  • 100s and 1000s sprinkles to finish
  • 1 lemon for zesting


Paul Ainsworth's Strawberry Trifle
Step 1

Starting with the cream cheese topping, in a bowl whip the double cream until you reach soft peaks. In a separate bowl combine the rest of the cream cheese topping ingredients and mix well to incorporate together.

Step 2

Fold through the soft peak double cream in 3 stages and once all is added you can whip until nice and thick, and then place the mixture into a piping bag and chill – ready to finish your trifle later.

Step 3

Next, to make the strawberry jelly, place all of the strawberry jelly ingredients into a pan EXCEPT the gelatin, then bring to a gentle boil. Then, pass the infused strawberry stock through a fine sieve and keep in the fridge until you make the jelly.

Step 4

To make the jelly take 500g of strawberry stock and bring to the simmer. Whilst this is happening soak 4 sheets of gelatin in cold water and once soft, squeeze off the water and add to your warm strawberry stock to dissolve. Leave this to cool slightly before making your strawberry trifle.

Step 5

Next, the custard! Mix the milk and cream together in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolk and custard powder until light and fluffy.

Step 6

Pour over half the cold cream and milk mixture over egg mix to make a paste, and heat the rest of the milk and cream with vanilla in a saucepan. Then, pour the heated cream and milk over the egg paste mixture, and return all the mix to pan. Cook on low-medium heat until starts thickening.

Step 7

To set the custard for the trifle, take 1 litre of finished custard and heat gently to about 70/80c. Whilst this is happening, soak 2 sheets of gelatin in cold water and squeeze any water off once soft then add to the warm custard to dissolve. Let the custard cool to room temperature before adding to the trifle.

Step 8

And now, to build the stawberry trifle! Add some chopped strawberries to your trifle dish then cover generously with the strawberry jelly liquid.

Step 9

Chop the sponge fingers into 1cm pieces and add a layer on to the jelly, the liquid jelly should soak into the sponge. Place the dishes into the fridge to set completely.

Step 10

Once the jelly is set add a good layer of room temperature custard on top about 1cm deep or more if you like, place into the fridge again to set firm.

Once the custard is set you can now pipe the whipped cream cheese mixture on onto and make it as clean or as messy as you like! Finish the trifle with 100s and 1000s and a little lemon zest.

Paul Ainsworth grating an orange over a trifle - yum!

Many thanks again to Paul for sharing these gorgeous individual trifles!

Photo credits: Andrew Callaghan & Lateef