Quince and Sherry Trifle


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Long and Messy Business

A Long and Messy Business

By Rowley Leigh

Published 2018

  • About

I like to use a good Amontillado in my trifling, as it’s rich, fruity but ultimately quite dry.


  • 3 quinces
  • juice of 1 lemons
  • 100 g ( oz) golden caster sugar
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz) white wine
  • 5 gelatine leaves
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) vanilla sponge cake
  • 100–150 ml (3½–5 fl oz) Amontillado sherry
  • 1 vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 60 g ( oz) light brown sugar
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) (double) cream
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 2 teaspoons crystallised violets, pistachios or angelica


Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F, Gas Mark 1).

Peel the quinces, halve and core and toss them in the lemon juice. Arrange the fruit in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the caster sugar before adding the wine. Cover with a sheet of foil and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the quinces turn a deep pink and are perfectly tender. Leave to cool in their juice.

Once cooled, strain off the juice and measure out 400 ml (14 fl oz). Pour into a pan and bring to a simmer. Soften 3 of the gelatine leaves in tepid water, then add to the juice and whisk well. Strain into a bowl.

Cut the cake into cubes of slightly more than 1cm (1/2in) and arrange in the bottom of a 2 litre (3 1/2 pint) capacity china or glass bowl. Cut the quince into cubes of a similar size and add to the bowl, then sprinkle the sherry evenly over. After 10 minutes, pour over the quince jelly and refrigerate for 1 hour or until the jelly has set.

Soften the last two gelatine leaves in tepid water. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape the seeds out into the milk before adding the pod itself and bringing to a gentle simmer. Beat the egg yolks with the brown sugar really well, then pour in the hot milk in a thin, steady stream. Return to the heat and stir very well with a wooden spoon, making sure you scrape the sides and corners of the pan. As soon as the custard begins to thicken, remove it from the heat and continue stirring. Add the softened gelatine and whisk the mixture well. Allow to cool. Once the custard is cool, pour it over the trifle and chill, preferably overnight, for a complete set.

When the custard is set, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and pipe or spoon it over the custard, spreading it with a palette knife to form an even layer. Decorate with flaked almonds, crystallised violets, pistachios and/or angelica, and serve.