Black Forest trifle

Black Forest trifle

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(24 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 5 mins Plus cooling and chilling


Serves 8

James Martin's indulgent trifle won't keep you in the kitchen for long but will impress guests at your next get-together

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal723
  • fat52g
  • saturates31g
  • carbs62g
  • sugars55g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.34g
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  • 500ml tub ready-made chilled custard – look for one with real vanilla seeds
  • 100g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 400g chocolate brownies
  • 2 x 390g jars cherries in kirsch or similar



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…

  • 300g tub double cream
  • 200ml tub crème fraîche
  • 25g icing sugar
  • grated chocolate, to decorate, and fresh cherries (optional)


  1. Put the custard into a pan with the chocolate pieces. Gently heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted into the custard. Cover with cling film and cool.

  2. Arrange the brownies in the base of a trifle bowl. Drain the jars of cherries, reserving the liquid, and scatter over the brownies. Drizzle over 100ml reserved liquid. Spoon the cooled chocolate custard over and chill while you make the topping.

  3. Lightly whip the cream with the crème fraîche and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Chill until ready to serve, then pile on top of the trifle and decorate with grated chocolate and fresh cherries, if you like.

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Comments (45)

scarymamma's picture

I made this dessert as the 'easy' one of 3 desserts for a large family gathering. I changed the ingredients/quantities slightly and my version fed 16 people easily.
I substituted 4 broken up double chocolate muffins for the brownies (thought brownies would be too 'fudgy'.)
I used the same amount of cherries as recommended in the recipe and there was more than enough.
I doubled the amount of chocolate custard (divine and good enough to serve as a pudd in it's own right) and used Waitrose's Blegian plain chocolate (just remember to allow time for the custard to cool). I then topped the trifle with 500ml whipping cream, a crumbled flake (1 was enough) and some stoned fresh cherries. Absolutely delish and oh sooo easy :-)

lizleicester's picture

Made my own chocolate custard with cornflour and cocoa powder. The cherries were in syrup rather than kirsch but otherwise followed the recipe using mini chocolate brownies from Tesco bakery. The feedback was good (I couldn't eat any myself as I have a dairy allergy so I have to trust the recipe!)

ewe2lambs's picture

This was a great pud for christmas, didn't use the kirsch due to kids etc but everyone really loved this. Certainly to make again!! Yummy!

jojoricketts's picture

This was really easy to make and tasted really great. Everyone that tried it loved and said that it felt like a grown up trifle. Will def be making it again and will be doing the chocolate custard again as was so easy and tasted great.

raeliz64's picture

I made this for pudding on New Years day and it went down very well. I found some cherries in kirsch at Tesco, I think they just stock them for Christmas as I haven't seen them there before.
Hubby wasn't keen on the brownie base, so I may try chocolate swiss roll another time.

britkk5's picture

Absolutely loved this!! I couldn't find cherries soaked in kirsch (I live in the American South.. cherries in kirsch are a little too exotic I think!) so used tinned cherries and soaked them in port (all I had in the house). Also, I can only get Ambrosia Devon custard so used that, and had to use sour cream in place of the creme fraiche. In spite of all that, it turned out fantastic! So easy to make, but looks oh so impressive. Can't wait to make it again, YUMMY!!

katiehook's picture

This was AMAZING! Everyone agreed it was the best trifle they had ever had. Made some changes- swapped the cherries in kirsch for 2 tins of cherry pie filling (made it much cheaper) and just whipped double cream on it's own for the top. Making it again for Christmas day, top marks! :)

jilott's picture

Hi, I have all the ingredients to make this for Xmas and plan to make the base on xmas eve and finish with the fresh cream on xmas day.

1 question though - can anyone tell me what the correct measurement is of the cream as the tubs I have are in ml and this shows g' there a difference?

Thank you very much, a beginner!!

kegz71975's picture

I am going to be making this for our Christmas Day Dessert this year. As we are not big fans of the old Pud.

I was struggling with the Cherries and Kirsch thing and I am not a fan of brownies or chocolate sponge really, but I love black forest Gateaux so this for me sounds like heaven

I am using chocolate swiss roll (the one not covered in chocolate) and I am soaking Glace cherries in Bols cherry brandy liqueur. I will also dip the sponge in the liqueur also before lining the base of the bowl, put the cherries on top and pour over the stated amount of left over liquid. I am using Birds packet custard powder as I always find that is the best at setting for trifles. Pipe the cream onto the top and decorate with fresh cherries and sprinkle lightly with some edible glitter/dust to give it some festive sparkle :) wish me luck

jarrestr's picture

Not sure what this has to do with cooking as everything seems to come ready prepared.

sallypigott's picture

So easy to make and so yummy, it went down extremely well with my guests for lunch yesterday.
My husband & I don't like usual trifle, but we both loved this, I will definitely be making it again

myleftfoot's picture

Incredibly expensive and disappointing result, better off buying a pudding

carly88's picture

made this for a summer bbq as there are alot of trifle lovers in my family!!!...couldnt find cherries in kirsch so used waitrose tinned cherries in syrup and sprinkled over some marsala wine. to decorate i also sprinkled over some flaked almonds and a crushed flake bar...everyone loved it!!!!

mrjames-btinternet's picture

I made this trifle by making my own custard rather than shop bought and melting the chocolate in the custard when thickening it up in the pan. Very easy receipe to do and shall do again as it's a quick recipe.

xcrawford's picture

18 guests loved this on Boxing Day. I can't wait to make it again. I soaked ready bought brownies in the Kirsch. (I bought the cherries in Kirsch from Waitrose) A really easy pudding and a great hit. What more can one ask for?

absfabmum's picture

Very rich and heavy trifle - not that moreish. Used Green and Blacks chocolate with Sainsbury's taste the difference vanilla custard and cherries in kirsch from Waitrose. Choc custard v rich - Perhaps try with not so high quality choc next time or use milk choc instead. Think biggest mistake was using ready made brownies though - used the small ones in a tub from Sainsbury's. Made the trifle really hard to eat. If there's a next time will make my own which are much lighter.

dwhee02's picture

Lovely recipe used frozen morello cherries and soaked them in cherry brandy - beautiful!!

libra21's picture

Black cherries in Kirstch found in waitrose

alison-oconnor's picture

Delicious. I made this for Christmas Day. (I couldn't get cherries in kirsch so used cherries in apple juice, or something like that.) The day before, I soaked the brownies in cherries and added the custard (I actually bought chocolate custard, so there was no need to heat plain custard and stir in chocolate) and on the morning I whipped up the topping and stored it separately in the fridge, as advised, and crumbled chocolate and chopped fresh cherries for the decoration. It took moments to assemble just before eating and it really was lovely, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

spottycups's picture

Oh my! Definitely HAVE to make this for Christmas!!


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