Zabaglione Trifle slice

It is all very well Nigella swanning around her Christmas kitchen looking gorgeous and sparkly and I do dream that this could be me….one year but to be honest it rarely (I’ve had my moments….) works out this way.

I love to make delicious food for all my family and friends and not spend all my time in the kitchen (who wants to anyway?). There is only one solution -PLANNING and help from the best Christmas helper of all -THE FREEZER.

Squirrel away some lovely dishes now for Christmas and then you really can put on your sparkly dress, have a glass of champagne, relax and enjoy some delicious meals. I am starting off (as I mean to go on) with a favourite pud-Zabaglione Trifle slice. A trifle is a Christmas must have and this one is based on the Italian zabaglione pudding. It is easy to make and freeze and makes a great alternative to Christmas pudding for those that don’t care for it. Have a go, pop this in your freezer and relax that’s one ticked off the list-spend the extra time shopping for something sparkly to wear.



A delicious freeze ahead party dessert. Use a 23cm spring loaded tin with a removable base.

Serves 10

For the base:

Approx. 440g Madeira cake (1 ¼ of the blocks)

425g tin black cherries in light syrup* (retain some of the liquid) *

2 tbsp. Marsala

1 tbsp. of cherry juice

For the zabaglione cream:

4 egg yolks

1 whole egg

100g unrefined caster sugar (5 tbsp.)

200ml Marsala liqueur (+ 2 tbsp. for the base)

400ml double cream

To serve:

Cocoa powder for sifting or chocolate caraque -made with melted plain chocolate.

Stars/holly template

Edible glitter


  1. Prepare the tin by lining the base with baking parchment and greasing the sides. Blitz the cake in a processor and tip into the tin, pressing it down with a spoon until it is firm.
  2. For the zabaglione cream. Put the egg yolks and the whole egg in a glass bowl with the sugar and then stand it over a pan of boiling water. Whisk for about 5 minutes (with a hand-held mixer) until it is light and fluffy keeping the pan on the hob at a gentle simmer. If you are feeling very strong you can do the whisking by hand but I would use the electric one
  3. Mix the wine with the Marsala, keeping back 2 tbsp. for later, and gradually pour onto the egg/sugar mix whilst continuing to whisk. Whisk for another 5 minutes by which time it should coat the back of a spoon. Take off the heat and chill for about an hour. Don’t leave it longer than this or bring it into the heat – it will start to separate and become too runny.
  4. Drain the cherries, keeping back some syrup. Check if they need the stone taking out-if so just tear each one in half and push it out. Tip onto kitchen paper to drain.  Cut in half if necessary. Mix 2 tbsp. Marsala with 1 tbsp. of the syrup and sprinkle over the cake base. Arrange the cherries on the base.
  5. Now whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the cold masala mixture. Pour the mixture over the base and the cherries.
  6. Open-freeze until solid and then cover with cling film and foil or put into a plastic bag. Freeze for up to one month.
  7. When ready to use, unwrap and serve after about 30 minutes. You want it soft enough to cut into slices but not completely defrosted or it will begin to collapse. Serve dusted with cocoa powder (use templates for a starry/holly pattern if you want). Sprinkle with edible glitter. Or decorate with chocolate caraque made with plain chocolate.

*If you can get hold of luxury black cherries in liqueur, often Kirsch, these are even nicer but they are difficult to source. Amerena cherries are particularly good.

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