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Pimm's Trifle

Updated: May 26, 2023

Is there anything more English than Pimm's and trifle? We're celebrating the Queen's Jubilee with this Pimm's Trifle, but it's a great dessert for any get together! Make-ahead, no-bake, and show-stoppingly gorgeous!

Pimm's Trifle

We’re always up for a little pomp and circumstance, so to honour HM Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, we’ve concocted this delightfully delicious Pimm’s Trifle. Seventy years at the helm is quite an impressive feat, and keeping that family of hers in line an even bigger one!

If you’re not familiar with Pimm’s, it’s a quintessentially English summer drink enjoyed at picnics, horse races and pretty much any summer gathering. It can be as simple as a Pimm’s with lemonade “down the pub” where you’ll be lucky if it’s served with a slice of orange, or as pretty as a tall glass with a spoonful of boozy fruit and cucumber floating in it, finished off with a mint sprig.

This Pimm’s Trifle is layer upon layer of delicious things: pound cake drizzled with orange juice and Pimm’s, berries, Pimm’s jelly (jell-o in the US), vanilla custard (with orange zest - we’re pulling out all the stops here), more berries, and finally, lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Don’t be put off by the long recipe. It’s mostly an explanation of simple steps. Many of the components can be store bought. It’s a no-bake dessert and can be made well ahead of time! It does need 4 hours to chill during the process and another couple of hours to chill before serving, so I recommend making most of this the day before you plan to serve it.

This serves 8 but I took it over to a friend’s house and the four of us devoured 80% of it in one sitting… and on that note, I should add that it goes very well with champagne! xoxo Kirsty

Pimm's Trifle

Pimm's Trifle (serves 8)


Prepare first:

  • 1 package orange flavoured gelatin pudding (a.k.a. jelly or jello) yielding approximately 4 cups (1 liter) of pudding.

  • 1 cup (235ml) Pimm’s. You need 1/4 of the total liquid needed to make the pudding. For example, if a package calls for 2 cups of hot water and 2 cups of cold, use 2 cups hot water, 1 cup cold water and 1 cup Pimm’s. I made my own jelly as I couldn’t find orange flavoured gelatin, instructions are at the end of the recipe.

For the Base:

  • 12 oz. (340g) pound cake or madeleines (store-bought is fine)

  • 1 orange yielding 1/4 cup (60ml) juice plus zest for custard layer

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Pimm’s

  • 12 oz. (340g) raspberries

  • 12 oz. (340g) blueberries

For the custard layer:

  • 2 cups (475ml) prepared custard or vanilla pudding either from a package, from scratch, or store-bought

  • Zest of 1 orange (from orange above)

For the final layer:

  • 2 cups (475ml) heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

To decorate:

  • chocolate shavings

  • reserved berries

  • mint leaves

Special equipment:

  • A trifle bowl shows off the layers nicely, but if you don’t have one, use any glass dish. Just bear in mind that the layers won’t be as evenly ‘stacked’.


Make the gelatin pudding according to the package instructions, substituting Pimm's for some of the water. (For example, if a package calls for 2 cups of hot water and 2 cups of cold, use 2 cups hot water, 1 cup cold water and 1 cup Pimm’s.) Proceed with the rest of the recipe while you wait for it to cool to room temperature.

Arrange the cake in the bottom of the trifle dish. Try to keep the pieces along the perimeter of the bowl quite neat. For the middle bits you can break up the cake and press the pieces in to fit. Aim for about a 1-inch (2.5cm) layer of cake.

Combine 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice with 2 tablespoons (30ml) Pimm’s. Drizzle over the cake.

Add half the raspberries and blueberries to the bowl in an even layer.

Pour the cooled jelly over the fruit until it just covers the fruit. If there’s any leftover, just chill in the fridge - it makes a lovely dessert on its own!

Combine the vanilla custard with the orange zest. Once the jelly has set, add the custard to the bowl.

Add the remaining berries in a layer, reserving a small handful for decoration. You can prepare it up to this stage the day before serving.

Before serving, whip the heavy cream with the confectioner’s sugar until it holds its shape.

Spread the whipped cream over the custard, then decorate with chocolate shavings, the remaining berries and some mint leaves. Return to the fridge before serving, preferably for at least 2 hours.

To make Pimm’s jelly from scratch:

Heat 700ml lemonade with 50g sugar in a saucepan until just boiling. Meanwhile, bloom 2 gelatin powder packets in cold water according to package instructions. When the lemonade mixture is still very hot, almost boiling, remove it from the heat and stir in the gelatin. Then stir in 300ml Pimm’s. I also added the juice of one orange to the lemonade mixture, this is optional. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

Pimm's Trifle

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