I like to shake the English up a bit, especially with something French. In truth, South African cuisine can’t deny being at least a little bit influenced by its British counterpart, even if few of us would admit it. The trifle is quite possibly the grande dame of our inherited classic desserts, and traditionally consists of sponge cake, sherry, fruit, custard, jelly and cream. In this version, I’ve injected the custard into the choux puffs, and used unsweetened cream in the layers. But the cream isn’t unsweetened for dietary reasons… it’s to make way for a gorgeous Noble Late Harvest syrup that will infuse this Trifle à la Jan.


for the choux puffs

250 ml water

100 g (110 ml) butter

130 g (230 ml) cake flour

1 ml salt

3 large eggs (do not use extra large or jumbo eggs, as this will affect the consistency of the dough)

for the Noble Late Harvest syrup

1 bottle (375 ml) De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest 

90 g (100 ml) sugar

1 cinnamon stick

for the custard

6 egg yolks, room temperature

50 g (60 ml) sugar

50 g (90 ml) corn flour

750 ml milk

2,5 ml vanilla essence

to assemble

750 ml cream

200 g (250 ml) sugar

100 g (125 ml) sugar


for the choux puffs

Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Heat the milk and butter over a medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and salt all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.

Cook the dough, stirring constantly over a low heat for 1 minute.

Take the pan off the heat and allow the dough to cool slightly. Add the eggs one by one and stir until the eggs are fully incorporated and the mixture resembles a thick paste.

Spoon the choux pastry into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain nozzle.

Pipe the choux pastry onto the baking trays, about 5 cm apart. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl or peak of each puff.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow them to cool in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool further to room temperature before filling them with the custard.

for the Noble Late Harvest syrup

Pour the Noble Late Harvest into a saucepan and add the sugar and the cinnamon. Heat on a low heat. Let it boil for 10 minutes from the moment it reaches boiling point.

Take off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Keep it in the fridge until needed, removing the cinnamon before using.

for the custard

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour until well combined.

In a saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla until warm. Remove from the heat and add it to the egg yolk mixture. Pour it back into the saucepan and place the saucepan on medium heat. Whisk until the mixture is thick and cover the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat and pour the custard in a clean mixing bowl. Place a piece of wax paper directly onto the custard (this is to prevent a skin forming on the custard). Let it cool.

to assemble

Fill the choux puffs with the custard. Whisk the cream until stiff. Melt the 200 g sugar over a low heat (do not stir) until it’s a golden caramel. Let it cool for 1 minute. Spoon a little caramel on top of each puff. Spoon a layer of cream into a large serving bowl. Drizzle some syrup over the cream, then pack a layer of filled puffs on top.

Repeat this once more. Melt the second batch of sugar over a low heat – do not stir – until golden caramel. Let it cool for 1 minute. Use a spoon and drizzle the caramel over the last layer of puffs.