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Emma Dean’s recipe for Australian Pepperberry and Roast Strawberry Trifle with Limoncello

Article image for Emma Dean’s recipe for Australian Pepperberry and Roast Strawberry Trifle with Limoncello

Australian Pepperberry and Roast Strawberry Trifle with Limoncello

This is so delicious! I think this trifle combines the best of all worlds, traditional Italian flavours of mascarpone and limoncello in a traditional English dessert – the trifle! Perfect for Xmas or any other time! This is also a great way to get full use of your Pandoro. I love Pandoro French toast for breakfast, or just a thick slab with my short black over the festive season. This is a great way to get further mileage from your Pandoro.

Roasted Strawberries

  • 1 kilo of strawberries, hulled, plus an extra 250g for the jelly
  • ½ cup caster sugar


  • 750g very ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 4 large sprigs of thyme
  • 300 ml water
  • 6 leaves of gold gelatin leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Australian pepperberries, finely chopped
  • plus extra 250g of roasted strawberries – see below

Lemon Cream

  • 2 cups fresh pouring cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice (plus more if you want to taste)
  • 1 lemon, finely zested

Mascarpone  Cream

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 250ml cream (if you want a bit of zing – use crème fraiche)
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

Peppercorn garnish

  • 1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds
  • 2 teaspoons Australian pepperberries (to taste)
  • 1 cup of limoncello (at least)
  • Savoiardi biscuits (about 8)
  • Pandoro (a fruitless Panetone)
  • Extra 250ml cream, whipped


You do need to start this the day before, but it is worth it and makes the day of the event quite pleasant! More time to spend with family and friends.

First of all, I have made this for a 20cm trifle bowl, but you could use numerous single serves. The trifle bowl is much less fuss, which is my kind of style on Christmas day.

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Toss the 1.25 kilos of strawberries in the 1 cup of caster sugar. Place on a large baking tray lined with paper so that the strawberries are not stacked on each other. Roast for about 10 minutes, tossing half way through the cooking time. The strawberries should be still firm but releasing their juices (yum right?!). Remove from the oven and let cool. Place in an airtight container, and pop in the fridge until you need them tomorrow (and for the jelly in the next step).

To make the jelly, put the strawberries, the sugar, water, thyme, and pepperberries into a stainless steel bowl and cover with cling wrap. Place the stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and cook for ½ hour.

Strain the solids from the liquids.

Bloom 6 sheets of gelatin in cold water for 5-8 minutes. When softened, remove by hand and squeeze the water out. Place the softened gelatin leaves into a bowl and whisk in a little bit of the strawberry juice until all of the gelatin is dissolved. Then whisk the dissolved gelatin mixture back into the entire body of the strawberry mixture.

Pour into your trifle bowl, sprinkle in a few roasted strawberries, cover, and place in the fridge.

Now onto your lemon cream! I love this lemon cream (aka: Lemon posset). It is easy, simple and a great dessert just by itself (I like to dip shortbread into a plain lemon posset – devine).

In a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar together to a simmer. Add the salt and the lemon juice and zest. Turn off the heat. Pour the mixture into a bowl and then place cling wrap over the top and press down so that the cling wrap touches the mixture to prevent a skin forming. Place in the fridge to set. This will take at least 6 hours.

Go to bed!

The next day, make your mascarpone cream. In a bowl or a stand mixer, place the mascarpone, cream and  sifted icing sugar. Whisk until light and soft peaks form. Set aside.

Slice a large disk of pandoro that fits in the 20cm trifle bowl, with a few millimetres space between the pandoro and the trifle bowl. Brush both sides liberally with limoncello.

Place the limoncello disk of pandoro into the set jelly.

Line the side of the trifle bowl with cut roasted strawberries, so that they encircle the pandoro.

Spoon the mascarpone cream onto the pandoro and squish in between the roasted strawberries.

Brush the savoiardi biscuits both sides with limocello. Dip the ends even. If you want or need to omit the limoncello, a lemon sugar syrup would also suffice.

Break the savoiardi biscuits up and place over the mascarpone layer.

Place the rest of the roasted strawberries on the mascarpone layer.

Spoon the lemon cream over the roasted strawberries and then cover and place in the fridge to firm up.

When ready to serve, top the trifle with extra whipped cream, toasted flaked almonds, and chopped Australian pepperberries.

This is a crowd pleaser!  Happy Christmas.

NOTE: If you cant get your hands on Australian pepper berry – red pepper corns with do. I do really urge you to find them though (check google – there are a few people selling them online).