27 March 2012

Strawberry & Raspberry Sherry Trifle - happy sigh!

Now I know that there are many glorious, delicious and sublime desserts available out there in this world.  Let's take that as read.

For me, however, dessert doesn't get much better (except maybe with a Summer Pudding) than with an enormous fresh fruit Trifle.

My hubby reckons that life is made more bearable by the use of Sprinkles - and where a Trifle is concerned, I think he's right.  On a steak pie, maybe not so much.  Anyway ..

We were entertaining my parents for lunch this last Mother's Day and had decided upon hubby's signature dish of a beautiful risotto, followed by a good old-fashioned, retro, enormous bowl of wobbly, be-sprinkled, Trifle.  Much happiness.

Trifle just makes you smile, don't you think?  If I see a big wobbly bowl of Trifle, I can't help but be taken back to childhood meals of getting past the main course as fast as possible, so as to get to the Trifle moment.  The layers of fruit, jelly, sponge, custard and cream!  Where else would you get all those fabulous ingredients in the one spoonful?  Certainly not from a Sticky Toffee Pudding (in all its undoubted glory).  Nor from a Cheesecake (even though it'd try to come close).  No, the Trifle reigns supreme over dessert-land in its decadence and deliciousness.

My trifle started life on the Saturday morning, when I began by soaking the Boudoir Finger Biscuits (far, far superior to your dry old bit of leftover sponge, or measly Swiss roll) in sherry, then made the raspberry jelly by including the juice from a tin of raspberries.  The fruit - including sliced fresh strawberries - was spread over two layers of soaked biscuits (the bottom layer soaked in sherry, the top layer soaked in jelly) and then topped off by pouring the jelly slowly across the whole, to act as lovely fresh flavoured, jewel coloured, wobbly glue to hold it all together.

From there, it was reverently placed in the fridge to set and await that evening's layer of custard.

Now, if you're going to make a Trifle from scratch like this, don't ruin the loveliness by using nasty pre-made runny custard - even if it does purport to come from Devon.  Also, don't go all super keen and make Michelin star custard from cream and vanilla pods.  Oh no.  Invest in some custard powder and follow the instructions.  THAT's the type of custard that a Trifle enjoys and that's the type of custard that will set properly.

Once be-custarded, return your baby Trifle to the fridge to chill before tomorrow's lavish cream layer, the bright colour of strawberry decorations and the unabashed joy of sprinkles.

The following day, whip up some double cream to soft peak stage (I will admit, mine went a bit beyond that, but not so far that it was unusable - thank goodness).  Spread the cream in a generous layer (you can always whip up some more, if you run out before the top is covered) over the top of the custard and ruffle up the surface with the tines of a fork.

Now is the time to get creative with some strawberry slices and, moments before the big reveal of service, to break out the Sprinkles of Joy.

For just a moment, stand back and admire the work of art that is your Trifle.  Wallow in the anticipation of that "gloop!" sound that the first spoonful will make as it is served and the flavour of those first glorious spoonfuls.

Happy, happy days.



  1. I'm not too sure how I feel about trifle! I have never enjoyed it growing up. I think it's because its all wobbly and cold and a bit wet.

    My Grandfather passed away very recently and he always loved a good trifle. No matter how full he was he insisted that he had a second pudding stomach, and was always ready for a helping of trifle.

    I feel like I must give this a go! I don't think I've given trifle enough of a chance in the past.

    L. x

    1. Luci, your Grandfather was obviously a man after my own heart. Grandparents know a good thing when they see one, is my experience. LOL

      There are several keys to making a good trifle.

      1. Get as much flavour as you can, into your jelly. This is why I used tinned raspberries instead of fresh - because I could use the raspberry juice to make half of the fluid up with, for the jelly.

      2. Don't make the jelly too loose. If you are making a 1 pint jelly, put slightly less than the pint of liquid into it. That will keep it good and firm - and reduce the "wetness" of which you speak.

      3. Don't overdo the sherry (if you're using it) as it can be bitter. I used 5-6 tbsp on just the bottom layer of Boudoir Biscuits.

      4. Use a sponge that has body. This prevents the sponge from dissolving into wet slush. Boudoir Biscuits soaked in either sherry or jelly are just perfect.

      5. Same rules apply for the custard, as for the jelly. Don't make it too loose, as you want it to set firm so that you can cover it with cream.

      6. Most important - don't forget the sprinkles! :)

    2. Luci, later on yesterday when I was thinking about your Grandad and your comment that Trifle is "a bit cold", I remembered that my Mum used to make a Hot Trifle. Well, it was actually a warm Trifle - made without jelly but with the sponge soaked in fruit juice and with hot custard. Of course, the cream layer had to be jettisoned, but it still was a hit with us kids!

  2. Oh Jenny, you might have opened the debate on weather a good trifle should have jelly or no jelly ;-)

    1. Aye, well, therein lies the rub! Because the term "a good trifle" is subjective and totally a matter of personal opinion, I'd say it all depends on whether you're a jelly person or not. I am just completely a jelly person - love the stuff - and so would miss not having jelly in a trifle, which would render it a sub-standard trifle. However, if you're not a jelly person (should such a person exist, of course - lol), well then the reverse would be true. I'm an easy-going sort and would say to a person to do what they prefer. :)


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