Gluten and Dairy-Free Trifle with Coconut Custard and Roasted Fruit

, from Issue #63. December, 2015
Photography by Kelly Gibney.
Gluten and Dairy-Free Trifle with Coconut Custard and Roasted Fruit

This trifle uses a lightly sweet coconut custard and a flourless almond sponge to create a gluten- and dairy-free version of the original. Make it the evening before so that the flavour has time to soak into the cake. 


2 cups almond meal
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
5 free-range #7 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup melted coconut oil
1 heaped teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
zest of two lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 × 400ml tin full fat coconut milk
1 × 400ml tin full fat coconut cream
2 tablespoons cornflour
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1½ teaspoons good quality vanilla extract 
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 free-range egg yolks
4 perfectly ripe peaches
5 plums
juice of two lemons
2 generous tablespoons maple syrup or rice malt syrup
large handful fresh mint, cut into fine ribbons
To assemble
rum or fresh fruit juice (for soaking cake when layering)
fresh raspberries, to garnish
fresh mint sprigs, to garnish
20cm springform cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper 


Preheat the oven to 165°C.

Cake: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined, or mix well in a large bowl. Tip the batter into the prepared tin. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes until golden and lightly firm to the touch. Set aside to cool.

Custard: Mix the cornflour with 4 tablespoons of the coconut milk to create a smooth paste. Pour into a medium-sized saucepan and add the maple syrup, vanilla, nutmeg, remaining coconut milk and the coconut cream. Cook for 4 minutes over a medium-low heat, whisking continuously. 

Place the egg yolks in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the hot liquid to the yolks to temper them and whisk well. This will stop them scrambling when you add them to the saucepan. 

Pour the yolks into the saucepan, continuing to whisk. Cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly, ensuring there are only small bubbles breaking the surface. Do not let the custard reach a boil, otherwise it will split.

Strain the finished custard through a sieve (if there are any lumps) and set aside to cool for an hour. Then place in the fridge until ready to assemble the trifle.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Fruit: Remove the stones from the fruit and cut into wedges. Place the peaches and plums in separate ovenproof dishes. This stops the redness of the plums staining all the fruit. Squeeze lemon juice over each tray and toss well. Drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup over each tray. Use your hands to ensure the fruit is evenly and well coated.

Roast for 20 minutes. Rotate the trays once and move the fruit around as necessary for even cooking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once fruit is entirely cool, place in a bowl, sprinkle with the mint and stir through.

To assemble: Cut the cake horizontally then cut each half into quarters to give you 8 large pieces of cake. Place a layer of cake in the bottom of your trifle dish. Drizzle with rum (if using) or fruit juice. 

Use a third of the cooked fruit to create an even fruit layer. Pour over a third of the custard. Top with more cake, pressing down on the lower layer to compress. Drizzle with rum again. Layer with a further third of fruit and another third of custard poured on top. Add the last layer of cake. Press down to balance and combine bottom layers. 

Drizzle with rum, place remaining fruit on top and pour over the remaining custard. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint just before serving.