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St Clement’s Trifle 

Thyme and Again

“Trifle ticks the Christmas box in so many ways”
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Recipes and notes from Charlie Hibbert, Chef Director at Thyme: a pastoral idyll which offers a place to pause for thought in harmony with the seasons.

A bucolic retreat of rooms, luxury and rest, Thyme provides a range of workshops, treatments, events, and some of the most delicious, locally sourced food in the county at the Ox Barn.

St Clement’s Trifle

Trifle ticks the Christmas box in so many ways. It’s a perfect stand-in for Christmas pudding, if (perish the thought) Christmas pudding is not your thing. But, more than that, you can make it well ahead of time, it looks magnificent and – using wonderfully seasonal clementines – it is lip-smackingly good. And if, like me, you’re fond of ‘afters’ at Christmas, definitely serve both this and Christmas pud – with lashings of brandy butter.


  • 200g sponge or Madeira cake
  • 4 tbsp Cointreau
  • 4 clementines, peeled and sliced widthways
  • 20g flaked almonds, gently toasted to a golden brown
  • 150ml double or whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • Icing sugar to dust

For the curd:

  • 2 lemons 
  • 2 clementines
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 100g unsalted butter


  • Put all of the ingredients except for the eggs in a heatproof bowl and heat over a pot of simmering water until the butter has melted.
  • Do not let the water touch the base of the bowl.
  • Beat in the eggs and continue to cook very gently for six minutes or until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Place in a container and cover with a little greaseproof paper to stop a skin developing. 

For the custard:

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 50ml double cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 20g caster sugar


  • Put the vanilla, cream and milk into a pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for a few minutes.
  • Mix the eggs and the sugar together in a bowl and gently pour over half of the hot milk, mixing continuously.
  • Pour the mix back into the pan and cook over a low to medium heat until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • To put it all together, line the base of your chosen bowl (or bowls if you’re making individual trifles) with the clementine slices.
  • Next, tear the cake up and drop it in. Pour over the Cointreau and let it soak in.
  • Follow this with the curd, then a layer of the custard and finally top with whipped cream. Sprinkle over the almond flakes and dust with a little icing sugar. 

Thyme’s Happenings

We know we shouldn’t have a favourite season, but Thyme looks so pretty at this time of year – our hearts just melt gazing at it. Lights twinkle, cocktail glasses sparkle, fires crackle, food sizzles – Christmas time is upon us. Thursday night Ox Barn diners will be treated to some hip-swaying bossa nova grooves in the Baa Bar before and after dinner. Music’s also on the ticket at The Swan with live acoustic sets every Friday during December. At the beginning of the month, the compelling and charismatic cook Diana Henry, will be talking about her book Roast Figs and Sugar Snow, and Charlie has come up with a weekend lunch menu from 1-3 December, inspired by Diana’s recipes. And now’s the time to start thinking about New Year: this year, The Swan and Ox Barn will be hosting their own signature-style dinners and dancing. It’s worth booking sooner rather than later. Trust us.

Discover more online at or follow on Instagram @thyme.happenings

Photo credit: Freddie Ellams


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