Charlotta (Cypriot Trifle with Preserved Fruits)

Sponge cake, scented with rose water is complemented with rich almond cream and syrupy preserved fruit, in Paul Hollywood's version of a classic Cypriot trifle
By Paul Hollywood
Charlotta (Cypriot Trifle with Preserved Fruits)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 12
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus at least 2 hrs chilling
  • Effort: medium


For the sponge

  • 3 eggs
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 140 g plain flour
  • pinches salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the trifle

  • 100 g whole almonds
  • 2 litres milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 70 g caster sugar
  • 110 g cornflour

For soaking the sponge

  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp rose water
  • 3 tbsp cognac
  • 380 g tinned fruit, (drained weight), syrup retained from the can


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4, and butter and flour a 35 x 24cm ovenproof dish.

2. To make the sponge, whip the eggs and sugar together for about 10 minutes, until thick and creamy.

3. Sieve the flour and salt and gently fold into the egg mixture along with the vanilla extract. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes, until firm to the touch. When a skewer is poked into the centre of the cake, it should come out clean.

4. Turn the sponge out of its dish onto a wire rack. When cooled, halve the sponge horizontally through the middle. Leave on one side.

5. Tip the almonds into an electric blender, and pulse into coarse pieces. Set aside about 4 tablespoons of the almonds and continue processing the remainder until they are finely chopped.

6. In a small frying pan, toast the reserved coarsely chopped almonds over a medium heat until they are a pale golden colour. Set aside.

7. Place most of the milk into a saucepan, reserving 100ml in a mixing bowl. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

8. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the cornflour to the cold milk, stirring until smooth. Whisk this cornflour mixture into the whipped egg and sugar.

9. Add the hot milk, a ladleful at a time, to the egg mixture, whisking to prevent curdling. Transfer this mixture back into the milk pan and place on a gentle heat, stirring continuously until it begins to thicken.

10. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the rose water and the finely chopped almonds.

11. Leave to cool for a few minutes -at this stage, the almond cream will still be quite thin, but it will thicken further as it cools.

12. Place the bottom layer of the sponge in a trifle dish.

13. For the soaking liquid, mix 4 tablespoons of milk with the rose water and cognac. Brush half this liquid over the sponge. Scatter the soaked sponge with half the preserved fruit, and drizzle with the reserved syrup from the can.

14. Pour over half of the cooled almond cream, spreading it evenly over the sponge.

15. Arrange another layer of sponge on top of the almond cream, and brush with the rest of the soaking liquid. Spoon one more layer of preserved fruit over the top and drizzle with fruit syrup.

16. Spread the remaining almond cream on top of the fruit. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and leave and chill for a 2-3 hours before serving.

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