Trifles considered

A trifle is a typically English ‘pudding’ or dessert made with cream, custard, jelly, sherry and so on…….. It is probably so named because it is a trifle – an unimportant bit of foolishness.  We are not selling trifles on Cybergrot as we are fairly certain that a combination of cream, custard and the Royal Mail would not be a happy one. You can if you wish, buy the delightful spoon visible in our second picture below.

Here is a trifle recipe or two for you to try-out in the privacy of your own home.

Traditionally a trifle is made in a glass bowl – so the distinct layers of ingredients are visible.  Strictly speaking every trifle is different and quantities can be approximate.

You will need some of the following:

  • A glass bowl

  • Sponge cake – (stale if possible) enough to cover the base of your glass bowl

  • Sherry

  • Custard

  • Whipped cream

  • Packet of Jelly (substitute the y for an o if you are from the USA)

  • Jam (we suggest strawberry …..mmm nice)

  • Fruit (optional) tinned is best. Not grapefruit or prunes – unless you are a masochist. Fruit salad or fruit cocktail looks nice. If fresh fruit is used it should be chopped and it should be sweet

  • Things for decoration.


Sherry Trifle without tears

Tear up the sponge cake and arrange it untidily at the bottom of the bowl. Spread with jam… this can be a joyfully messy process depending upon how untidily the cake has been arranged!  Take the bottle of sherry – pour yourself a large glass and drink it down in one.  Pour some over the cake and leave it a while – cake likes sherry. When the cake is completely sozzled cover it with a thick layer of custard – if you are feeling really swanky you could make this freshly using eggs and milk and stuff – but we suggest you have another glass of sherry and open that box of ready-made custard lurking at the back of your larder. Then put a thick layer of whipped cream over the custard and decorate it with …….. with……… decorations (you might like to consider flaked almonds, angelica, hundreds and thousands, glace cherries etc – bat droppings not recommended)

Fruit and Jelly Trifle without sherry

Tear up the sponge cake and arrange it with the jam untidily at the bottom of the bowl (see above)!

Drain the tinned fruit and give the cake a fright by covering it with the fruit pieces.  Cake does not like fruit.

Make up the jelly using the tinned fruit syrup instead of part of the water. Pour this over the cake and fruit.

Allow the jelly to set and add the custard and cream as above.

Cool, decorate and serve.  Your guests will be amazed.

Mistakes that will spoil your trifle

Using a bowl that is too large – if the trifle does not reach the rim it will look really, really stupid.

Using a bowl that is too small – you will end up with trifle all over the table.

And for history buffs……..The earliest trifle we have found dates from 1596 from The Good Housewife’s Jewell: "To make a Trifle:
Take a pint of thick cream, and season it with sugar and ginger, and rose water. So stir it as you would then have it and make it luke warm in a dish on a chafing dish and coals. And after put it into a silver piece or a bowl, and so serve it to the board."

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