Holiday Trifle, Paleo Style

December 15, 2011 in Categories: by

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It may seem a bit strange to follow a post on eating low-carb with a recipe for a dessert!  But Christmas is only 10 days away and I felt it was important to provide you with a wonderful paleo dessert recipe that, while maybe being higher carb than you would want for a regular night, is way way way lower carb than most traditional holiday desserts (there is less than a cup of sugar in the whole thing!).

My idea for this recipe started as I started thinking about Christmas dinner this year (and started to fret about dessert).  I had to find something that could compete with my family’s traditional Christmas dessert (a cake made of whipped cream and chocolate wafer cookies).  I needed to create something exceptionally yummy but also beautiful.  And I wanted to stay away from even the gray-area foods… well, except rum, but what is Christmas dessert without some rum?! Speaking of rum, I have included instructions for a family-friendly option, where you flame the alcohol out of the rum.  You could also omit it altogether, or use some watered down rum extract as an option.

So without further ado, may I present my Holiday Trifle:  exquisitely yummy, gorgeous to look at, serves 10-12 (and it tastes even better the second day after all the flavors start to blend together!).

So, you just scrolled down and noticed that there are a lot of steps.  Don’t be intimidated:  none of the steps are particularly tricky and, even though it takes time to make, a lot of it is spent waiting for things to cool.  I suggest doing the jellyroll and jellyroll filling the day before you plan to serve it.

Holiday Trifle

Ingredients (jellyroll filling):

  • 1 ½ cup frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 ½ cup fresh or frozen organic mango

1.    Place berries and mango pieces in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
2.    Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, until juices are thick and mango is very soft.
3.    Blend with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth.
4.    Cool completely before spreading on cake.

Ingredients (jellyroll cake):

1.    Prepare a 12”x18” rimmed baking sheet by lining with wax paper and heavily greasing the wax paper with extra virgin coconut oil.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2.    In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add 1/3 cup sugar gradually and continue to mix until stiff peaks form.
3.    In a separate, small bowl, beat egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla until thick.  Whisk in coconut and almond flour.
4.    Fold yolk mixture into egg mixture, being careful not to lose too much volume, until incorporated.
5.    Spread batter out onto prepared baking sheet.  Take the time to spread the surface evenly and into the corners.
6.    Bake for 16-17 minutes, until top is just starting to turn golden brown.  Meanwhile, lay out a piece of parchment paper (roughly the size of your baking sheet), cover with a large tea towel and another layer of parchment paper.
7.    Remove cake from oven and immediately invert over parchment.  Carefully peel off the wax paper.  Starting from one of the shorter sides, roll the cake up in the parchment/tea towel.  Let the rolled-up cake fully cool on a wire rack.
8.    Once completely cooled, gently unroll the cake.  Remove the parchment and tea towel. Spread the top side evenly with the cooled jellyroll filling.  Roll the cake back up.
9.    Wrap up the jellyroll in parchment or wax paper and refrigerate, seam side down, until ready to assemble the trifle (at least 1 hour, or overnight).

Ingredients (Coconut Custard):

1.    Split vanilla bean down the middle and place in a saucepan. Add coconut milk and bay leaves.
2.    Heat coconut milk slowly over low heat until very steamy and just shy of simmering.
3.    Add a ladle of the hot coconut milk to the beaten eggs while stirring the eggs vigorously.  Then add the egg mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly.
4.    Continue to stir constantly until custard thickens (should coat a wooden spoon), about 4-5 minutes.
5.    Remove from heat.  Remove bay leaves and discard.  Remove vanilla bean halves, scrape the inside of the vanilla beans with a sharp knife to collect the vanilla seeds and add back into the custard.  Discard the vanilla bean pod.
6.    Once cooled, add honey and mix well.
7.    Refrigerate until cold before assembling the trifle.

Ingredients (the trifle):

  • Jellyroll
  • Custard
  • 1/3 cup good quality dark rum (for family-friendly option, flame ¾ cups rum)
  • 3 cups fresh berries, plus more to garnish (I used strawberries and blueberries)
  • Fresh mint, for garnish (optional)

1.    Slice the jellyroll into ¾” slices (so you see the lovely spiral of the fruit filling).
2.    Line a glass bowl with the jellyroll slices.  For a really nice presentation, you might want to cut a few jellyroll slices in half for the bottom to help prop the other slices up on the sides.  Place any extra cake in the bottom of the bowl.
3.    Carefully drizzle each piece of cake with rum.  (For family-friendly option:  heat ¾ cup good quality dark rum in a wide-bottomed saucepan or skillet on the stove on low heat.  When it starts to steam, remove to a well-ventillated area (like outside!) and carefully light it on fire (use a barbecue lighter, extra-long match/taper, or kitchen blowtorch).  Let it burn, swirling the pan gently every once in a while, until the flames go out by themselves.  You should be left with about 1/3 cup of lovely very low-alcohol rum.  Let it cool before drizzling on the cake.)
4.    Fill the inside of the bowl with the fruit (slice any bigger berries, if needed)
5.    Poor the cooled custard over the fruit in the middle of the bowl.  Place some extra fruit on the top for a garnish.  Garnish with mint leaves, if using.
Do you need help finding any ingredients?  Check out  Important Pantry Items for the Paleo Baker.


I made this triffle to a potluck, and I was disappointed that it was the only dessert that was gone before people were done eating…. I wanted to bring leftovers home!! But I had a big piece myself, and it was delicious. I didn’t use any rum/substitute, and forgot the bayleaves, still good. I actually thought I ruined my custard by heating it too long, since it separated. I was mad at myself, but thought I will still eat it (and don’t take it to the potluck) since it must still taste good, it had good stuff in it. But when my curdled goo had cooled down and I added the honey, decided to try what a stickblender would do to it, and it worked nicely! Smooth, yummy custard! It was runnier than I wanted it to be, but my strawberries on top of it sinked just a little bit. This is a keeper, and I will make a regular shape cake to my daughters birthday using this recipe, using gelatin in the custard to make it thicker! Thanks again for great recipes, Sarah!

You do so much for us! Thankyou. I have a question. Cna we somehow set up a link or something where we can have out own favorite recipes put inot an on site recipe box? I know that some websites have that. I see so many great recipes and I am afraid that I might forget to come back to them.

Have you tried the app Pepperplate? You can add recipes manually or pull them from certain websites. You can create your list of recipes, make weekly menus and even shopping lists. (I’m not a shill for them, I just found it and want to share). 🙂

What can I replace for honey? I’m doing keto so I can’t eat honey. I can do liquid stevia, splenda, or erythritol. Thanks!

This custard wounds marvelous. And ever since our trip to the British Isles in 1980, Trifle has been one of my fav desserts. I do like to drizzle a couple tablespoons of rum on the cake though. Just doesn’t taste right to me without it to me. 🙂

My grandson cannot eat cane sugar. I don’t know the science of sponge cakes. Can I leave out the sugar and add a little honey and still get a decent sponge?

I used coconut palm sugar, not sure if that would set off an intolerance the same as sugar but the custard tastes good and the Swiss roll has turned out well

Jane Graham, thank you for the coconut palm sugar substitute notation….I almost fainted at the thought of using REAL SUGAR!

Just made the jelly roll and will be making the custard tomorrow for our thanksgiving feast. The pastured eggs available to me locally are consistently double yolks, so I think I probably could have used a little more flour as the roll is a little eggy, sticky, and broke apart twice 🙁 no worries though, it’s still super yummy and I can’t wait for my family to try it! Theyre always giving me a hard time about gluten free. Thanks for this recipe and I look forward to making it again! 🙂

Wonderful! I made two for Christmas eve and Christmas dinner at our house. The second one was better because I cooled it overnight. Less is more on the rum too.

Hello! Love your FB page and always inspires me to continue trying, not giving up. I have had some successes, but still struggle sometimes. I would like to ask if you could help me with an old recipe and could change it to a Paleo style recipe. The ingredients consist of sliced fresh apples, butter, brown sugar, and puffed pastry. thinking I could substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar? Is there anything that can substitute for a puffed pastry or light crust? These ingredients are put together to make an Apple Tart. Would be great if I could go back to making this apple tart for holidays and special occasions and still be within the Paleo guidelines. Thank you!

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