Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Christmas Trifle Recipe

Trifle Photo : Karen E Photography

Photo : Karen E Photography

Christmas Recipe One
South African Trifle

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

I’m ringing the changes and giving you two columns during December. They are about festive-season recipes so cannot be published on the last Saturday of the month as is usual. I shall showcase six recipes today and another six next Saturday - December 22, 2012.

The format I have chosen is to highlight the 12 days before Christmas and start with what needs to be done first, working down to the last-minute items which have to be done on the day - the final preparations and putting everything together. African inspired, traditional recipes! I challenge one to get the traditional recipes correct before venturing off into the unknown. Nothing can be better than a chilled glazed gammon in this hot African sun.

South African Trifle

The South African trifle. Malva pudding, dried fruit compote, Kahlua Crème Anglaise, fresh orange jelly and dark chocolate chunks.

Malva Pudding

Yields: about 8 portions-oven tray 16x25cm


  • 200g White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 15ml Apricot Jam
  • 150 g Cake Flour
  • 5ml Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Pinch Salt
  • 15g Butter
  • 5ml Vinegar
  • 100ml Milk
  • Sauce
  • 200ml Cream
  • 50g salted Butter
  • 150g White Sugar
  • 100ml Hot Water
  • 50g Apricot Jam


  1. Beat the sugar and eggs very well until light and creamy.
  2. Add apricot jam.
  3. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter and vinegar together and then add to milk.
  5. Alternatively add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the egg mixture.
  6. Put mixture into an oven tray (18 x 22cm), cover with foil and bake at 180̊C for 30 minutes. Take the foil off and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  7. While the pudding is baking make the sauce. Heat all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Continue stirring until the sugar granular are dissolved. Pour straight over the malva pudding when it comes out of the oven.

Dried Fruit Compote

Yields: about 8 portions


  • 500g Dried Fruit
  • 100g Prunes
  • 200g Apricots
  • 100g Dried banana
  • 60g Pears
  • 40g Apple
  • 5g Star Anise
  • 10 whole Cloves
  • 5ml Cinnamon
  • 1 Vanilla Pod – Split
  • 4 cups Orange Juice
  • 1 cup Sugar


  1. Place all the above ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Allow to simmer until the fruit is soft.

Crème Anglaise

Yields: 250ml


  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 30 ml Sugar
  • 1/3 cup full cream Milk
  • ½ cup Cream
  • ½ Vanilla Pod, beans scraped from pod


  1. Bring the sugar, milk, cream and vanilla to the boil.
  2. Combine the eggs lightly.
  3. Add the hot liquid to the eggs.
  4. Place over a double boiler and stir continuously until a custard is formed. To test this-the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. What this means if one runs their finger over the back of the spoon a line should be created and hold itself, this would then mean the sauce is ready if the line closes as in runs all together then it is still too thin.

Fresh Orange Jelly

Yields: 16x20 cm tray


  • 500ml Fresh Orange Juice
  • White Sugar, to sweetened if nessesary
  • ¼  Vanilla Pod
  • 3.5 sheets of Gelatine or 7g or 10.5ml powdered Gelatine


  1. Slice the vanilla bean in half.  With the back of your knife scrape out all the seeds and set aside.
  2. Bring to the boil the orange juice, sugar and split vanilla bean and seeds.
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Place gelatine sheets into the water and allow to sponge. When the sheets are soft squeeze all excess water out. Then add to warm orange mixture. Strain and set aside.
  4. Put 30ml of cold water into a teacup. Sprinkle with gelatine powder and allow to sponge for 5 minutes. Put a small saucepan of water on the heat (Bain Marie style) and place teacup in the centre and with a teaspoon stir the gelatine and water mixture until all the gelatine is dissolved; otherwise, jelly babies may form in your end product. Once dissolved add to warm orange mixture. Strain and set aside.
  5. Grease the tray and fill with the orange mixture.
  6. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight to set.


  • Whipped Cream
  • Roughly Chopped Nuts
  • Brandy, to taste
  • Putting the Trifle together



  1. Hand-break the malva pudding into chunks and layer this alternately with jelly, compote fruit, crème anglaise and brandy.
  2. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and nuts.

Please post your comments and any food-related questions below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Hartford House, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
+27 33 263 2713