Christmas Trifle makes me think of my Grandmother. Actually, Trifle and Brandy make me think of my Grandmother and my Grandmother at Christmas time. She made a mean trifle, and she loved a nip of brandy. Her Trifle was quite spectacular and loaded with everything quintessentially Christmassy. This is my version of a trifle we make at Christmas. It’s a healthy vegan version and really very simple to make. The brandy soaked sponge is gluten free and vegan, sweetened with fresh apples and pure maple syrup. The egg and dairy free custard is made with coconut milk and sweetened with just a little maple syrup. In every layer of the sponge are plump fresh brandy soaked cherries (far superior to tinned cherries) and toasted almond and coconut flakes. It’s not exactly what I remember my grandmother made, but it’s a delicious adaption that we still love.
Apple Sponge Cake
10 peeled and grated apples – any type
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup olive oil
2 tsps vanilla extract
4 cups gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup brandy
Mix grated apple with the maple syrup, vanilla and olive oil. Then add in the flour and baking powder and mix through. Line a 25 cm cake tin with olive oil or coconut oil and grease well. Bake in a 160 degree Celsius oven for 30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tin, before carefully removing and sprinkling with the brandy.
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs pure maple syrup
2 tbs cornflour
Heat the milk in a saucepan to warm – around 45 degrees Celsius. Add the maple syrup, vanilla and cornflour and stir over low to medium heat until the mixture thickens. Refrigerate for 2 hours before using in your trifle. It will thicken again while it chills in the fridge.
No need to use canned or jarred cherries, as these lack flavour and full of added sugar. Use fresh cherries; de-seeding them is not difficult at all. They free from added sugar and the plump goodness of the cherries is delicious.
1 kilo fresh cherries
½ cup brandy
De-seed your cherries with a cherry pitter or just use a straw. Rinse the cherries in a colander and one by one, remove the stem and push the straw through the cherry so that the stone pops out the bottom.
Transfer the cherries to a saucepan, add the brandy and top up with a little water. Cover the saucepan and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Leave these in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
Plain coconut yoghurt, whipped and flavoured with a drop of maple syrup or agave nectar ie CoYo coconut yoghurt
¼ cup almond flakes, toasted
¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted
In the bottom of the trifle dish spread out a thin layer of custard. Then add a layer of diced squares of the apple sponge, cut 4 x 4 cm. Add a layer of cherries – mixed almond and coconut flakes flakes – custard – yoghurt . And again cake – cherries (and cherry juice to moisten) – flakes – custard – yoghurt – and remaining flakes and cherries for a pretty top layer.