Food&Drink Writer Chloe Hyde sheds the secret on her perfectly delicious, gelatine free trifle

Written by Chloë Hyde
Food and Drink Editor, MA Literature and Culture student and probably Mob Kitchen's biggest fan.
Last updated
Images by Korng Sok

If you lead a vegetarian lifestyle like I do, you have probably come across the trouble of finding certain things without gelatine at some point. Over Christmas, I wanted to make a trifle for my family because I don’t like Christmas Pudding for one, and secondly I didn’t want to have something stodgy after Christmas dinner – so the fruity option was a good one. I could not find a nice vegetarian jelly without having to go to a health food store, so this is an easy way of making your own fresh vegetarian jelly at home!


Serves 6-8


A pack of trifle sponges 

5 tbsp Amaretto (optional)

400g tinned strawberries 

400g tinned raspberries (save the juices from both tins) 

700g fresh raspberries 

2 tbsp caster sugar 

2 tbsp lemon juice 

1 sachet Dr Oetker ‘Vege-Gel’ 

570ml custard ( I made up my own with 3 tbsp Birds Custard Powder and 570ml milk)

400ml Double Cream 

1 tsp vanilla extract 


Trifle sponges and fruit:

Make sure you have a large bowl to put your ingredients into, and that will fit in the fridge happily. Line the bottom of the bowl with the trifle sponges, breaking some in half if necessary, to fill in any gaps. You want your sponges to come up at the side about a quarter to a third of your bowls height. 

If using Amaretto, use a spoon to evenly moisten the sponges without drowning them in liquid – they will be too strong and mushy if you’re not careful. 

Use a sieve to drain the juices from the tinned fruit into a separate bowl, making sure you don’t waste any, and put to the side. Add the tinned fruit on top of the trifle sponges, covering the surface so it’s even and level. 


Making the jelly:

Wash your raspberries and place them into a medium sized saucepan, along with the caster sugar and lemon juice. 

Turn the heat on and cook on low until the sugar dissolves and the raspberries turn juicy. Once the fruit goes quite soft, grab your measuring jug and use a spoon to force the juice out of the fruit through a sieve to stop any seeds getting through. 

Once you have the raspberry juice in the jug, use the tinned fruit juice you saved from earlier and add it to the jug until 570ml. This is a strangely specific measurement, but the Vege-Gel will not set as well otherwise. 

Pour the raspberry, Vege-Gel and tinned fruit juice to a saucepan and heat until boiled, mixing constantly. Once boiled, pour the jelly mix into your trifle bowl. 

Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until set. 


Making the custard*:

If you’re using Birds Custard Powder, mix the powder with a small portion of your milk of choice in a saucepan to make a paste. Turn on the heat to medium and add the rest of your milk stirring constantly to make sure you don’t have any lumps. 

Keep stirring until boiling, and then it should be nicely thickened. Pour the custard into your bowl on top of your set jelly, and leave in the fridge. 

*You could use store bought custard if you’d prefer, but it would be a little more runny


The topping:

Add the vanilla extract to your double cream, and thicken the cream using a whisk until your desired consistency. You want it to be loose enough that it can be spread on top of the set custard, but not so runny that it doesn’t hold its form. 

Use spoons to layer the cream on top of the custard, and finally decorate your trifle with the fruit or sprinkles of your choice!



Cover with cling film when being stored in the fridge and consume within three days before the cream goes off!   


Still a little peckish? Check out more from Food&Drink:

Recipe: Vegan Fakeaway

Recipe: Cocktail Club