Sloe gin trifle

Valentine Warner adds a sophisticated winter twist to an old favourite with sloe gin and mandarins
By Valentine Warner
Sloe gin trifle
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus 30 minutes cooling time
  • Effort: easy


  • 4-6 mandarins, peeled and segmented, juice reserved
  • 175 g sponge fingers, (savoiardi)
  • sloe gin, for drizzling
  • 200 ml double cream
  • icing sugar, to taste
  • 50 g toasted flaked almonds
  • lemon zest, to garnish

For the custard

  • 600 ml double cream
  • 600 ml full fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out
  • 10 large free-range egg yolks
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

Tips and Suggestions

Sloe gin is incredibly easy to make but you have to be organised as it takes three months until ready. See our sloe gin recipe.


1. Put the segmented mandarins into a sieve to allow any excess juice to drip out, reserving the juice.

2. Put the juice into a small saucepan and reduce until thick and syrupy. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. For the custard: pour the cream and milk into a large heavy-based saucepan, stir in the vanilla pod and seeds and bring just to the boil. As soon as the mixture is boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod (it can be rinsed, dried and re-used in another recipe).

4. In a clean bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour until pale and creamy. Gradually pour in the hot milk and cream mixture, whisking continuously, until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

5. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the custard to a clean bowl. Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming, then set aside to cool for 30 minutes.

7. Arrange half of the sponge fingers in the bottom of a serving bowl and drizzle with some sloe gin, enough to moisten but not saturate.

8. Mix the drained mandarins into the cooled syrup and toss until well covered.

9. Add a layer of mandarin segments to the drizzled sponge fingers, then a layer of custard, more moistened fingers, and so on, in alternating layers that look pleasing to the eye.

10. Whip the double cream to soft peaks and sweeten to taste with icing sugar. Top the trifle with the whipped cream, sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and garnish with lemon zest.

Rate This Recipe