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Cheat’s Christmas Apricot Trifle

Looking to make a Christmas trifle but not the most confident of cooks? Mary Berry has devised this cheat's Christmas trifle recipe to get festive in a flash!


No Christmas table is complete without a trifle – this one’s a cheat because I use shop-bought custard and sponges. If making this for adults only, you could add an extra 1-2 tablespoons of brandy to soak the cake. The trifle benefits from being made in advance as the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop.

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10-12 trifle sponges, weighing 225g (8oz) in total
About 4 tbsp apricot jam
2 x 410g tins of apricot halves in light syrup
1½ tbsp brandy
1 x 500g carton of fresh vanilla custard
150ml (5fl oz) whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
30g (1oz) flaked almonds, toasted

Essential kit

You will need a 2.5-litre (4½-pint) glass trifle dish with a wide base.

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You will need a 2.5-litre (4½-pint) glass trifle dish with a wide base.

Slice each trifle sponge in half horizontally. Spread the apricot jam over one half of each slice and sandwich together with the other half.

Drain the tinned apricots, reserving 3 tablespoons of syrup from the tin, and chop the apricot halves into chunks.

Arrange half the sandwiched-together trifle sponges in the base of a glass trifle bowl and press them in. Pour over half the apricot syrup and half the brandy until all the sponge is soaked. Scatter half the chopped apricots over the top.

Repeat with another, final, layer of sponge, apricot syrup, brandy and apricots. Spoon over the custard, spread or pipe over the cream and scatter with the toasted flaked almonds.

This can be made a day ahead and kept, covered, in the fridge. Scatter over the nuts just before serving so they stay crisp.


If you don’t have a large trifle bowl, this could be made easily in 12 individual wine glasses, or other pretty glasses. Perfect for a Christmas fork buffet.

Depending on the width of your trifle dish, the number of trifle sponges you need may vary slightly.

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