Easy Caramelised Orange Trifle with Madeira

In my ‘real cooks’ Christmas book, the caramelised orange trifle takes an absolute age to prepare – though it is, of course, superlative; the best of its kind. But I have to say that this easy version is also a real winner. I find there are those who like jelly trifles, and those who prefer custard and cream only. So, if you are one of the latter, cut out the jelly bit, pour the custard over the sponge and top with 1?2 pint (275 ml) whipped cream before adding the nuts. With the jelly version below, extra pouring cream would be brilliant.

Serves 4–6

Easy Caramelised Orange Trifle with Madeira
 1½ tablespoons Vahiné Caramel Nature sauce (available from Lakeland Limited; see link below)
 1 x 298 g tin mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained
 2–3 tablespoons Seville orange marmalade
 4 trifle sponges
 1 x 135 g pack Rowntrees orange-flavour jelly, broken into cubes
 3 fl oz (75 ml) Madeira or sherry, preferably dry
 ½ pint (275 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
 2 medium bananas
For the topping:
 1 x 250 g tub mascarpone, at room temperature
 1 vanilla pod
 14 oz (400 g) ready-made custard
 2 oz (50 g) almonds, skin on, lightly toasted under the grill and roughly chopped
You will also need a 3-pint (1.75-litre) glass bowl.


First of all, split the sponges in half lengthways, spread each half with marmalade, then re-form them into sandwiches. Spread the top of each sandwich with marmalade, cut each one across into 3, then arrange the pieces in the base of the glass bowl. Now make a few stabs in the sponges with a skewer and carefully pour the Madeira or sherry all over them, distributing it as evenly as you can, then drizzle the caramel sauce over that. Leave on one side for the sponges to soak it all up. Next, place the cubes of jelly in a measuring jug, add 5 fl oz (150 ml) boiling water and stir until the cubes of jelly have dissolved. Then top up with the orange juice to make 1 pint (570 ml) of liquid and give everything a good stir. Next, arrange the drained orange segments in among the sponge cakes in the trifle bowl, tipping it from side to side to make sure all the Madeira or sherry has soaked in. Now slice the bananas thinly and scatter these into the bowl, and push them down the sides as well. Next pour the jelly mixture over the fruit and, once the jelly mixture has cooled, cover the dish with clingfilm and transfer it to the fridge for 3–4 hours, or until the jelly has set. Meanwhile, put the mascarpone in a mixing bowl. Then, split the vanilla pod lengthways and, using the end of a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds into the bowl. Beat the mascarpone to soften it and then add the custard and whisk them together. Now cover this with clingfilm and also chill in the fridge. Once the jelly has set, top the trifle with the mascarpone custard, cover and return to the fridge until required. Serve, chilled, with the nuts scattered all over.

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