Cherry, pistachio & chocolate trifle

Cherry, pistachio & chocolate trifle

Chris Middleton

I absolutely love cherries! When they’re in season I always eat as many as possible. They go really well with pistachios and chocolate. This is a great dessert because you can make it earlier in the day and let all the flavours come together.


Quantity Ingredient
500g cherries, halved and pitted
5 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water
1 Chocolate genoise sponge, broken into large pieces
100ml pedro ximenez sherry, (see Note)
75ml blanched, peeled and roasted pistachios, chopped
60g grated dark chocolate

Poaching liquid

Quantity Ingredient
250ml water
200ml pedro ximenez sherry, (see Note)
50ml luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, (see Note)
2 star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
100g sugar

Pistachio custard

Quantity Ingredient
125ml milk
125ml pouring cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
7 egg yolks
100g sugar
2 tablespoons pistachio nut paste


  1. For the cherries

    Combine the poaching liquid ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Return the poaching liquid to poaching temperature (just below simmering point — there should be no movement in the liquid, maybe just a few bubbles on the bottom of the pan). Add the cherries, then cover with a round of baking paper and a side plate to keep the cherries submerged. Gently poach for 10–15 minutes, or until tender. Leave to cool.
  3. Warm 500 ml of the poaching liquid and dissolve the gelatine in it. Strain into a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set. Once set, dice the jelly into 2 cm cubes.
  4. For the pistachio custard

    In a saucepan, scald the milk and cream over medium heat with the vanilla pod and vanilla seeds.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. As soon as the milk mixture has scalded, immediately pour it over the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat for 8–10 minutes, until the mixture is thick.
  7. Strain the custard into a bowl, through a fine sieve. Mix in the pistachio paste. Set the bowl over an iced water bath, stirring from time to time, until cooled. Cover and refrigerate until needed; the custard can be made a day ahead.
  8. To assemble

    Place a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of a glass bowl or bowls, then sprinkle with a little sherry. Top with a layer of custard, then some cherry jelly cubes. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients have been used. Serve topped with the pistachios and grated chocolate.


  • Pedro Ximénez is an intensely sweet, dark dessert sherry from Spain.


  • Luxardo Maraschino is an Italian sourcherry liqueur, matured for 2 years in Finnish ash vats.
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