Kirsten Tibbal’s Strawberry Trifle With White Chocolate Mousse

The trifle is great for an Australian summer: light and fresh with a touch of chocolate decadence.

Kirsten says…

Dessert is always the highlight for me. I have a steadfast rule of no snacking before the main meal to ensure my family still has room for dessert – especially over the holidays.

Choosing one dessert is like choosing a favourite child (mine is Charlie). So I make a minimum of three for the 10 members of my family every Christmas.

Every year I made a different trifle for the family until, one year, I created a Strawberry White Chocolate Trifle. It was an instant hit with the family, and I have been making it ever since. It was the perfect addition to my new book. The trifle is great for an Australian summer: light and fresh with a touch of chocolate decadence.

The beauty of this knockout trifle comes from the varying shapes and sizes of the fresh strawberry slices. The best part is: we’re not aiming for perfect uniformity, which makes this simply stunning effect very easy to create.

I love the fact that it’s easy to make, and can be made up to two days in advance, so you can tick it off your list and spend more time celebrating with family and friends.

I am well known not only for my desserts but also my table decorations, which I have been known to plan months in advance for the holidays. This trifle will make the perfect centrepiece for your table. It makes enough to feed a big family with leftovers.

Have a fantastic and delicious festive season, from my family to yours.

Strawberry Trifle With White Chocolate Mousse

Serves 12–14

Strawberry Soak
500g fresh strawberries, chopped
200g caster sugar
50ml water
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

To Prepare the Dish
500g fresh strawberries

White Chocolate Mousse
600ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
380g good-quality white chocolate
400ml thick (double) cream

To Assemble
300g sponge fingers (savoiardi biscuits/lady fingers)
100-200g block good-quality milk chocolate
200ml thick (double) cream
125g fresh strawberries, each cut into 8 thin wedges 


To make the Strawberry Soak, place the strawberries, sugar, water and vanilla in a heatproof glass bowl.

Place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Strain the syrup from the strawberries, then discard the strawberries. Set the syrup aside at room temperature.

To prepare the dish, slice the strawberries crossways into 5mm rounds. Arrange the sliced strawberries around the inside of a 20cm glass trifle dish, until they reach approximately 3cm from the top. Chop the remaining strawberry slices and reserve them for the trifle assembly.

For the White Chocolate Mousse, combine the thickened cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.

Put the white chocolate in a bowl.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated.

Place this ganache in the fridge for 20–30 minutes, stirring regularly until cool to the touch and thickened.

Transfer the cooled ganache to a larger bowl and add the thick cream, one-third at a time, folding it through. This mixture needs to be used immediately after the thick cream is added.

To assemble the trifle, one at a time, dip the sponge fingers in the strawberry soak and arrange them in two even layers over the base of the trifle dish. Sprinkle half of the reserved chopped strawberries over the soaked sponge layer.

Pour half of the chocolate mousse into the dish, then place the trifle in the fridge for 20–30 minutes or until it has started to set slightly.

Grate some milk chocolate over the mousse layer.

Repeat with another layer of soaked sponge fingers, chopped strawberries and mousse.

Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Before serving, warm a tablespoon slightly with hot water and scoop the thick cream straight from the tub – it should hold its shape – onto the surface of the trifle. Just before serving, scatter the strawberry wedges on top of the cream.

The trifle can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge to ensure it has the best appearance, but it can still be eaten for up to 3 days.


First published in Ed#703