Traditional Maltese Trifle


  • Custard
  • Fruit
  • Gelatin or Fruit juice
  • Whipped cream
  • Vermouth
  • Sponge biscuits or fingers


When i was a kid my mum used to prepare trifle whenever we had relatives over for Sunday lunch. I can still remember helping my mother lay the sponge cake in layers and generously sprinkle the sponge with vermouth.

Trifle is a dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or gelatin, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top. There are many variations on how to make trifle i'm sure all of them are delicious but i'll stick with the one i remember most from my childhood.

Different recipes use different types of cake, i remember my mother using ladyfingers (long finger -sponge cakes are also known around the world as Boudoir biscuits, sponge biscuits, sponge fingers, Naples biscuits). I like to use a plain cake which is a few days old which really helps in absorbing the alcohol.


1. Place the cake in an even layer at the bottom of a deep perspex bowl, sprinkle or brush with sweet vermouth. The amount of vermouth you put will make a difference as to how strong an alcohol taste in the finished trifle. I don’t mind an extra sprinkle :) The spirit used can also

2. The next layer is made from custard. You can use lemon or chocolate or strawberry custard, I normally put thin layers of cake between each layer of custard just to make the trifle slightly heavier and keep the different layer more separate. The size of your bowl will determine how thick your layers need to be and how many layers you will have.

3. Fresh cream, or whipped cream are normally used to decorate the last layer. I prefer using ricotta, using a mixture of ricotta, nuts (hazel nuts and almonds- crushed), candied peel ,and candied cherries.

4. The assembled Trifle is covered and placed in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to mingle. The trifle is an ideal desert for any large noisy Maltese lunch with family and friends.

Difficulty: Medium

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