Trifle in English cuisine is a dessert made with fruit, a thin layer of sponge fingers or sponge cake soaked in sherry or another fortified wine, and custard. It can be topped with whipped cream. The fruit and sponge layers are suspended in fruit-flavoured jelly, and these ingredients are usually arranged to produce three or four layers.
The name trifle was used for a dessert like a Fruit fool in the sixteenth century; by the eighteenth century, Hannah Glasse records a recognisably modern trifle, with the inclusion of a gelatin jelly.
Serves: 6 to 8
For The Base
4 trifle sponge cakes
4 almond macaroon biscuits
20 ratafia biscuits
4 tablespoons sweet sherry
4 tablespoons brandy
8oz (225g) raspberries
4 slices fresh pineapple cut intosmall pieces
For The Custard
3 egg yolks
1/2 pints (275 ml) heavy (double) cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
1 oz (25g) caster sugar
1 level teaspoon cornflour
For The Topping
3/4 pint (350ml) whipping cream
2oz (50g) flaked almonds, lightly toasted
crystallized angelica peel
1. Cut the sponge cakes in half and spread raspberry jam over one side, Re-sandwich them and break into rough pieces.
2. Break the macaroon biscuits into rough pieces and arrange with the sponge pieces and ratafias
in a glass serving bowl.
3. Mix together the sherry and brandy and drizzle over the sponge and biscuit base. Turn over
lightly with a fork to distribute everything.
4. Pile the raspberries and fresh pineapple over the top of the sponge base.
5. To prepare the custard, scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod into the double cream, and add
the vanilla pod too. Heat the cream in a saucepan over a low heat. Do not let it boil. Remove
the vanilla pod.
6. Meanwhile in a basin, cream together the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour. Now gradually
whisk in the hot cream.
7. Return the custard to the saucepan and over a very low heat, continue to stir until the sauce
thickens sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil.
8. Remove from the heat and pour the custard over the sponge and fruit base. Shake the bowl a
little to settle the ingredients.
9. Cover with cling wrap and allow to cool. Once completely cold, refrigerate the trifle.
All of the above can be done up to 24 hours in advance. Then an hour or two before eating, simply decorate
9. Whisk the whipping cream until just peaking and pile over the top of the trifle.
10. Decorate with the toasted almonds and crystallized fruits.