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Monday 28 July 2014

Gluten Free: Pimm's Trifle

Of all the gluten free recipes we've brought you, one has been notable by its absence. Trifle. I've been wrestling with trifle sponge for a long time (not literally, that would be weird). Much like with gremlins, bad things happen when you add liquid to gluten free cake. It tends to soak up far more than regular cake and the texture can only be described as "squishy crumbs". I've tried to make trifle with stale cake, muffins and genoise sponge. I've baked more versions of lady fingers and Savoirdi than you can imagine. Each time, they've burned or crumbled, and once, it spread into one massive sheet of very thin biscuit. The answer, it turned out, lay in a swiss roll sponge. There's no butter in the sponge, much like traditional trifle sponge, but it 's baked in a tin and it far more forgiving.

This is a Pimm's trifle. For me, a sherry trifle is too synonymous with Christmas, but Pimm's is a summer drink. We don't eat enough trifle in summer months, it's time to do something about that. And hey, when else can you put cucumber in your trifle and not face ridicule?!

Pimm's Trifle (serves 8)

Trifle Sponge
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
You'll need:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g gluten free plain flour mix, sifted
Make it!
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
  2. Whisk the eggs, yolk and caster sugar for about 10 minutes, until light, fluffy and pale. The mixture will be at least 3 times its original volume when it's ready. (If you're using an electric hand whisk or stand mixture, it'll probably only take 5 minutes.)
  3. Add half the GF flour and carefully fold it in. Don't use a wooden spoon here or you'll lose all of that lovely air from the mixture.
  4. Add the rest of the flour mix and gently fold it in until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour into the tin and spread the mixture into the edges. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
  6. Leave to cool before cutting into fingers.
For the trifle
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 4 hours to set the jelly
You'll need:
  • a 7cm piece of cucumber
  • 6 strawberries
  • 1 orange
  • a couple of sprigs of mint, leaves only
  • 170ml Pimm's, plus 3-4 tbsp extra
  • 12g sachet of gelatine granules (I used Dr Oetker)
  • 400ml lemonade
  • 500g ready made custard (make sure it's gluten free, a few aren't)
  • 300ml double cream
  • freeze dried strawberries and chopped mint, to garnish
Make it!
  1. Remove the seeds from the cucumber and cube the rest.
  2. Hull the strawberries and chop into pieces the same sort of size as the cucumber.
  3. Zest the orange and set the zest aside. Cut the top and bottom off the orange and remove the skin and pith from the outside. Cut the segments out of the orange and cut each segment into 2 or 3 pieces. Squeeze the juice out of the 'carcass' of the orange and set aside with the zest.
  4. Finely chop the mint leaves and mix with the cucumber, strawberries and orange segments. Add 3-4 tablespoons of Pimm's and toss together.
  5. Place sponge fingers in the bottom of a bowl and sprinkle your Pimm's fruit over the top.
  6. Heat the 170ml Pimm's in a saucepan. When it come to the boil, remove from the heat and sprinkle the gelatine over the top. Stir until all the granules are dissolved, then pour into the lemonade and stir to combine.
  7. Pour the jelly mixture over the sponge and fruit. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set the jelly.
  8. Once the jelly has set, mix the orange zest and juice with the custard and pour on top of the jelly.
  9. Whip the cream until it is at the soft peak stage, then spread it on top of the custard.
  10. Sprinkle freeze dried strawberries and chopped mint over the top to decorate.


  1. I love trifle SO MUCH. Cold custard makes me happy.

    1. Trifle is brilliant. I had some for breakfast today.


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