This is a crowd pleaser – make it for your guests, or bring it along to a party.

Black Forest Trifle

This is a marriage of my three favourite desserts: trifle, meringue and Black Forest gâteau. It definitely takes a bit of effort to make this dessert but, trust me, it will be the toast of the party.

Serves 10-12


For the jam Swiss roll: 4 eggs

110g (4oz) sugar

75g (3oz) self-raising flour

25g (1oz) cocoa powder

For the garnish:

4 dssp raspberry jam

1 tin of black cherries with syrup

1 tsp cornflour

50g (2oz) caster sugar

50ml (1.6fl oz) kirsch/brandy

10-12 fresh black cherries

300ml (10fl oz) freshly whipped cream

Chocolate shavings

For the meringue:

2 egg whites

110g (4oz) caster sugar

For the fresh egg custard: 300ml (10fl oz) milk

300ml (10fl oz) cream

6 egg yolks

75g (3oz) sugar

110g (4oz) white chocolate

1 dssp cornflour


To make the jam Swiss roll:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350F/Gas Mark 4). Grease and line an oblong (13 x 9in) tin with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, beat the 4 eggs with the sugar for the sponge base. It should become very light and aerated. The whisk should leave a figure-of-eight pronounced on the surface of the mixture when the whisk is lifted out of it.

2. Gently fold in the sifted flour and cocoa with a metal spoon. Be very gentle so as not to knock any of the generated air out of the sponge base, but also ensure that all of the flour is incorporated. Pour the mixture into a prepared Swiss roll tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown, and take the sponge out of the oven.

3. Before the sponge is fully cooled, invert it onto a sheet of parchment paper dusted with extra caster sugar (50g) and use a rolling pin; roll it over it to flatten it lightly and then spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Carefully roll the Swiss roll up from the longest side rather than from the shortest.

4. Place the tin of black cherries and syrup in the saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix together the teaspoon of cornflour with a teaspoon of water and add this to the boiling cherry mixture. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes at a low heat. Allow to cool.

5. To make the meringue, choose a large, spotlessly clean mixing bowl. Put the egg whites into the mixing bowl and beat them vigorously until they are stiff. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the sugar bit by bit until it is all incorporated. It is important to beat well between each addition of sugar and then beat at full speed for 50-60 seconds.

6. Using a piping bag, pipe the meringue mixture into small shells onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven at 110°C (225°F/Gas Mark ¼) for 60 minutes or until the edge of the meringue feels crisp to the touch but the centre is still quite soft.

7. To make the custard, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Meanwhile, in a large, spotlessly clean bowl and using a whisk, beat the egg yolks, sugar, white chocolate and cornflour together until light and creamy. Spend about 2 minutes on this process. Pour the boiled milk and cream mixture onto the eggs and mix well.

8. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook until the mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon and is almost ready to come to the boil. It is important to stir the mixture at all times to prevent it from curdling. This process should take no more than 2 minutes on a very gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil at this time. Taste the custard at this stage to make sure that you can not taste the cornflour. If you can, return to the heat and stir continuously on a low heat for another minute or so.

9. To assemble, slice the Swiss roll into thin slices and arrange in individual glasses, or a large bowl in a layered pattern. Pour some of the cherry compote on top.

10. Pour the custard over the sponge mixture. Repeat this two or three times, finishing with a layer of custard, and then cover with some cling film and allow to cool for a couple of hours or overnight. Cover with a disc of parchment paper or cling film to prevent the formation of a crust.

11. Top with the meringue and then pile some of the whipped cream on top and sprinkle, if desired, with some chocolate shards.

Photography by Julia Dunin

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