Sunday, 28 February 2010

Wild Berries English Trifle and a Diabetic's Birthday Treat!

  Last Saturday we had some dear friends over for dinner.
One of them had just celebrated his birthday a few days before.
I wanted to make something special for dessert, such as a birthday cake but with him being diabetic, this became an extremely difficult challenge.

I searched high and low for diabetic recipes, only to come to the conclusion that if a diabetic has something sugary it's not going to harm him or her, provided that they very small portions.

Still I wanted something he could enjoy fairly freely. I remembered the very famous Zuppa Inglese, so appreciated in this region.
 According to wikipedia:
Recipes for this sweet first appeared in the towns of Bologna, Forlì, Ferrara and Reggio Emilia, all in the Emilia-Romagna region, in the late 1800s. Its origins are uncertain and one theory states that it originated in the 1500s kitchens of the Dukes of Este, the rulers of Ferrara who had frequent contact with England, when they asked their cooks to try to recreate the sumptuous "English Trifle" they had enjoyed at the Elizabethan court.

So I decided to adapt the recipe for the traditional English trifle using Italian ingredients.
Not a traditional trifle but not a traditional Zuppa Inglese recipe either :)

I had to omit the layer of jelly as I could not find fruit jelly anywhere here. Instead I used sugar free Berry jam to create two layers of sweet, fruit moistiness.

I placed all the ingredients on the table and enlisted Alex's  (I love flavour, me Junior) help, who was delighted to be able to do so and lick the spoon at every occasion!!
 Wild Berries Trifle 


12 ladyfingers
A generous portion of Amaretto
A generous selection of wild berries
1 Jar of Sugar free Berry jam

For the custard: 
500 mls of milk
50 mls of single cream
1 vanilla pod or half a tsp of vanilla extract
30 gs of sugar
1 tsp of flour
4 egg yolks

200 mls of whipped cream slightly sweetened
Decoration of your choice. I wanted it to look quite birthday cake like.


First, you need to make your custard.
Bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
Remove the vanilla pod (wash the vanilla pod, dry and store in jar with caster sugar to make vanilla sugar).
Whisk the yolks, sugar and flour together in a bowl until well blended
Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.

Let it cool. And rewisk just before using it in the trifle. This was Alex's job!

Layer your ladyfingers at the bottom of your trifle dish.
Pour your amaretto all over them until well soaked.

Cover the ladyfingers with a generous amount of jam.
Then a layer of the fruit and again, cover these with the remaining jam and sprinkle some sugar on top.
  Pour a generous amount of custard over the fruit.
 Top it up with the whipped cream and decorate as you like.

So there you go, the final product.
My friend's comments were very reassuring too. He said it was the first time he'd had a dessert in 4 years and really loved it! Well worth it in the end!!!!


  1. Lucious and delicious looking indeed would love to have some of this right now! Bravo gorgeous dessert :)

  2. How thoughtful and creative of you! I have a friend with dietary issues as well, and it's a challenge when he comes for dinner, but isn't it so satisfying to make something flavorful and enjoyable for someone? You did a great job, it looks delicious!

  3. What a wonderful dessert, just an excellent creation, so good with wild berries!

  4. wow looks amazing your such a sweet person

  5. i like and admire considerate people- and you are one, for sure!

  6. Such an exquisite trifle! What a treat!
    PS I understand that the higher the fibre content in the meal, the more someone with diabetes will be able to handle a little sugar.

  7. Oh, I love a good trifle and yours sounds about perfect. I have a trifle dish that I guard jealously and am just amazed its survived my many moves unscathed. (Have I just jinxed myself?) I'll have to put it to good use trying this recipe while it is still with me.

  8. MMMMMM,...I love a good trifle & this one looks fab!

    Yum yum Yum!

  9. Ruth - beautiful - you, the dessert, the thought. Just lovely inside and out. Now you have me on a wild berry dream....

  10. A fantastic looking dessert!

  11. Excellent recipe, thanks for sharing I love to make sweet but not to eat it haha thanks.

  12. I love these recipes because look at those cakes ate perfect I know my son will be so happy when I making them for him, actually he likes to help me when I'm preparing them.

  13. This recipe is amazing , I love the sweet food, the combination of flavors is amazing, I would like to learn to cook this recipe!

  14. I'm making meringues for dessert as I'm on a low-carb diet as well as was wondering if sugar is even necessary to
    form stiff peaks? Can't I simply add many lotion of tartar if peaks aren't forming?
    Also does anyone else have a few tips for low-carb, no sugar desserts?

    As well as by no glucose I don't need suggestions with artificial sweeteners (including Splenda) either!.
    Also visit my blog best desserts recipes