Classic Trifle with Gingerbread People

The AGA Trifle Bowl is perfect for this fun showstopper dessert. Ready-made trifle sponges, custard and gingerbread people are useful ‘cheats’ for this dish. With thanks to Naomi Hansell for this wonderful recipe.

Gingerbread People Recipe:

225g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2-3 tsp ground ginger (depending on taste!)

1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice

50g unsalted butter

100g soft brown sugar

100g golden syrup

Ready-made writing icing and cake decorations or sweets to decorate

1. Line several large AGA baking trays with Bake-o-Glide or baking parchment. Sieve the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon together into a large bowl. 

2. Heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a heavy based saucepan on the simmering plate or induction hob on low until dissolved. Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then mix into the dry ingredients to form a dough. Gently knead into a ball. Wrap dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Lightly dust the work surface with flour, roll out the dough to a 3-4mm thickness. Don’t worry if it’s a bit crumbly. Cut out the gingerbread men shapes with a cutter, then re-roll any excess dough, knead together lightly and repeat. Place the gingerbread on the lined trays, allowing space for them to spread.

4. Bake on the grid shelf on the floor of the baking oven for 10-15 minutes until starting to colour. Turn tray if needed. Cooking time will depend on the size. Leave to cool.  

5. Decorate with writing icing and cake decorations or sweets.

Alternative cooking: Preheat oven to 190 oC/170 oC fan/gas 5 and cook for 10-15 minutes depending on size.

Tips: This mixture can be used for any shapes of gingerbread, including decorations for your Christmas tree, just make a hole for the ribbon before baking. Royal or glace icing can be used to decorate too.

Classic Trifle:

16 pieces of trifle sponge, approx 6cm x 8cm (ready made or home made)
Raspberry jam, approx 100g - 200g
300g fresh or frozen raspberries
200ml madeira, sweet sherry or apple juice
10 - 12 gingerbread people
1 litre custard (ready made or home made)
900ml double or whipping cream
125g fresh or frozen raspberries to decorate
A handful of toasted almond flakes or sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Serves 12 – 16

1. Spread 1/2 of the trifle sponges with jam and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of the trifle dish, keeping back one sponge per layer and cutting into triangles to fill the little gaps. Pour over 1/2 of the Madeira, sherry or juice along with 1/2 of the raspberries. Repeat with a second layer of trifle sponges, Madeira and raspberries.

2. Whip 300ml of the cream and fold into the custard. Chill for an hour or two to firm up.

3. Arrange 8 - 10 of the gingerbread people around the inside of the bowl so that they are looking out from the inside.

4. Spoon the custard-cream over the trifle sponge layer and chill again.

5. Whip the remaining cream and spoon or pipe on top of the custard layer.

6. To serve, decorate with some fresh raspberries and toasted almonds or sprinkles if using. Serve immediately or chill for up to 48 hours.