Grant Allen goes a bit fruity for Christmas dessert

I'm a big fan of Christmas pudding with custard and cream followed by a dish of trifle after Christmas dinner. However, the stomach has its limits! I can almost feel mine groaning at the thought of it.

I think trifle is best eaten for breakfast on Boxing Day. It's a great day for fridge grazing, picking away at the remains of our over-indulgence.

The tradition of plum pudding harks back to medieval times but did not actually involve plums. Until Victorian times, raisins were known as plums. The earliest trifle consisted of thick cream, sugar, ginger and rosewater. Later milk was added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread. These northern hemisphere dishes sit well on a white Christmas table in winter, but hopefully we will be enjoying a sunny summer's day on the 25th. Why not lighten things up a bit and serve something fresh and fruity?

For traditionalists who still want trifle but are looking to the lighter side, this one has no cream or custard. I was a bit sceptical reading this recipe in the Silver Palate Cookbook but I tried it and it works. You get all the expected textures, and using some less usual fruits gives it a tropical twist.


This simple recipe of strawberries on toast may seem a little strange, it's almost deconstructed jam on toast, but I can assure you it's delicious and couldn't be easier.

Or how about a peach melba? This classic has a festive feel and is basically, a poached peach with a ball of vanilla icecream and a berry sauce. I used canned peach halves but it is much better to use fresh poached peaches, especially if they are the beautiful white-fleshed ones.

For more recipes by Grant Allen and lots of Christmas food ideas, visit