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Rick Stein’s Clementine Trifle

Liqueur-soaked slices of Madeira cake, custard and whipped cream are layered with fresh clementines in this simple, light trifle. Perfect for a show-stopping Christmas dessert.


This is a simplified version of a recipe I wrote for my TV series Rick Stein’s Cornwall to celebrate an aqua made from an apple spirit flavoured with, and yes this is correct, hogweed. It’s produced in Cornwall by a company called Howl & Loer, which in Cornish means sun and moon. In the recipe I have suggested using Cointreau or Grand Marnier, but actually if you can get hold of this spirit, called Hogweed Seed, it is really interesting: slightly bitter, slightly woody and indeed, according to the producers, with notes of clementine. The other point about this trifle is that it’s incredibly collapsible. When being filmed making it, I was filled with doubt because of its delicacy and worried that trifle lovers who like to slice their trifle would find it ridiculous. For me, though, trifle is like tiramisu, the fluffier the better.

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200g Madeira cake, sliced, or 6-8 trifle sponges (shop bought or see page 303 of Simple Suppers)
4-5 tbsp Grand Marnière or Cointreau
3-4 tbsp marmalade
8 clementines or 3-4 oranges
900ml fresh thick custard (or make custard with custard powder)
300ml double or whipping cream
2 tbsp flaked almonds, lightly toasted


Lay the slices of cake or sponges into the base of a glass trifle bowl. Sprinkle them with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the liqueur and spread over the marmalade.

Take a thin slice off the top and bottom of each clementine or orange. Using a sharp knife follow the curves of the fruit to remove the skin and the pith. Then slice the fruit into rounds, reserving any juice. Arrange the rounds of fruit around the sides of the bowl so that they look like wheels through the bowl. Top the sponge with any juice and remaining fruit.

Stir the rest of the liqueur into the custard, then pour on to the sponge base. Lightly whip the cream and smooth it over the custard. Scatter over the to almonds and refrigerate until ready to serve.


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