Cherry, Amaretti & Kirsch Trifle
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Serves: Serves 8
For the Cherry Compote:
  • 700g cherries, unpitted
  • 2 tsp* cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Kirsch (or 1/4 teaspoon almond essence)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
For the Vanilla Bean custard:
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) cream
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 60g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp (15g) cornflour (cornstarch)
For the Amaretti Crumb:
  • 1-1/2 cups amaretti biscuits, roughly crumbled (use your hands)
  • 3 Tbsp Kirsch
  • 2 teaspoons good quality cocoa powder
For the topping:
  • 300ml heavy cream, lightly whipped
  • Cocoa powder, to sprinkle
For the Cherry Compote:
  1. Stone and roughly chop the cherries. Put the cherries in a saucepan with the cornflour and lemon juice. Stir over a moderate heat until the cherries start to soften but keep their shape. Lift out the cherries with a slotted spoon and turn up the heat to moderately high. Simmer until it starts to thicken a little and coats the back of a spoon. Take off the heat, cool and stir in Kirsch, vanilla and salt. Add in the cherries and stir to combine. Put aside to cool (store in the fridge if using later).
For the Vanilla Bean Custard:
  1. In preparation, make an ice bath by putting ice cubes and a small amount of cold water into a large bowl and resting a smaller metal or glass bowl in the ice. Set a fine mesh strainer over the top.
  2. Place the cream and milk into a medium sized heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthways with a small sharp knife and use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Add both the pods and the seeds to the cream and milk. Heat the cream and milk to just simmering.
  3. While the cream mixture is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, egg, caster sugar and cornflour in a large bowl, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Once the cream mixture is hot, slowly pour it onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve back into the pan. Return the saucepan to a low heat and gently cook the custard, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon (170-175°F or 77-80°C, if you’re using a thermometer). Do not boil or it will curdle.
  4. Once the custard is cooked, remove it from the heat and immediately strain the custard into the bowl set over ice. Whisk the custard until it’s cool. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate to firm up.
For the Amaretti Crumb:
  1. Add the crumbled biscuits to a medium bowl and stir in the Kirsch (I added a tablespoon at a time and combined, before repeating – you want the mix just moistened; not soggy). Add the cocoa powder and stir though.
To assemble:
  1. Add the amaretti crumbs to the bottom of the trifle bowl. Top with the cherry mixture (if it's too liquidy, drain off the excess). Spoon over the custard, then layer the cream over top of the custard.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge to chill and firm up for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours. Take out of fridge about 20 minutes prior to serving and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
* You may need to increase the cornflour a little if your cherries are particularly juicy.
PS: You can make this recipe as individual trifles in glasses if you prefer.
Recipe by The Kiwi Cook at