Tamal Ray’s recipe for mini blackberry and hazelnut trifles


A quick sponge layered with blackberry jam, nuts and cream, and served in a little glass – as good for dinner parties as a quiet weeknight treat

My mum and I are firmly at odds when it comes to the question of jelly in trifle. Her recipe was honed in the 1970s, so the jelly is therefore as essential as the cream. But, though I love jelly in most forms, I can’t stand the pasty texture of cake sponge soaked in jelly. So this recipe forgoes it and, perhaps even more controversially, does away with custard, too. The idea is for a pudding that feels impressive enough to conclude a dinner party, and that you could rustle up at short notice.

Mini blackberry and hazelnut trifles
Over-whipping the cream is easily done – but fixable. Just pour in a little more cream and stir it through until it returns to a smoother consistency.

Prep 20 min
Cook 30 min
Makes 5

For the sponge
75g blanched hazelnuts
75g caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g plain flour
2 pinches table salt
A little oil or butter, for greasing

For the blackberry jam
250g blackberries
75ml apple juice
20ml lemon juice
90g caster sugar

To assemble
250ml double cream
50g icing sugar
40g hazelnuts

Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 and line a 20cm round cake tin with butter or oil and greaseproof paper.

First make the sponge, blitzing the hazelnuts to a powder in a food processor. Using an electric whisk, beat the sugar and eggs for several minutes, until pale and airy.

Stir the hazelnuts, flour and salt in a large bowl, then fold this through the egg mixture, a third at a time. With the first third the mix will be a thick paste, but after folding through the final third you should have an airy batter.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 12 minutes. The sponge should be well risen, and a skewer inserted into the middle should emerge clean.

Pour 40g of hazelnuts on to a tray and roast for five minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make the blackberry jam, tip all the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan and simmer, covered, for eight minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for about another eight minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the syrup has thickened.

To assemble the trifles, whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Roughly chop the roast hazelnuts. Tear off pieces of the sponge and put in the bottom of five glass tumblers. Drizzle over some of the jam, followed by some of the cream, then a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts. Repeat with a second layer of sponge, jam, cream and hazelnuts, and serve.