Sunday 23 December 2018

A Traditional English Trifle

I was checking through my archives and couldn't believe that I had not shared a recipe for a Traditional English Trifle with you.  
After all these years I thought it was about time I did, so here we go!  Its not as hard to make as one would suppose actually.  Its really quite easy.

You can use slices of jelly roll for the bottom layer, if you wish, or even pound/Madeira cake, spread with jam.  What you want it a sturdy kind of a plain cake that will hold up well and absorb the sherry or fruit juice.  
These get laid on the bottom of the dish. You can also use trifle sponges, which you would split and spread with jam. Myself, I prefer the cake.

You sprinkle that with the sherry/juice and let it soak in. On top of that goes a layer of fruit.  Some people use banana, or strawberries.  
I have used drained fruit cocktail on occasion. My favourite thing to use are fresh  raspberries and blackberries if you can get them.  

The next layer is not exactly traditional, but something I love. This is something you will see in a lot of trifles and in almost every ready made trifle pot I have purchased and that is a layer of jelly/jello.  
You just make it up as per the package directions and then pour it over the fruit and cake, then pop it into the refrigerator to chill while you make the custard. 

You can use ready made custard, or make the custard from scratch.  Either are acceptable, but I do have to say I much prefer making my own, but then again I like to putter.  
Make your custard, let it cool to room temperature and then pour it over the set jelly. 

And that's it!  Other than making the whipped topping to spread on top and then garnishing it with more berries and some toasted almonds, your trifle is done.  
I prefer to make the topping as close to serving the trifle as possible.  It is made by whipping cream and egg whites together.  If you will be serving it to any elderly or very young people, use pasteurised egg whites. (You can find these in the chiller section of the grocery shop.)  
Of course you can leave the egg whites out entirely and just use twice as much cream.   Either way is acceptable.  Enjoy!!

Yield: 6

Traditional English Trifle

An English Christmas tradition. It will take several hours to set, so, with the exception of the whipped topping, this is best put together the day before.


6 slices of strawberry jam filled jelly roll
(or slices of pound/Madeira cake spread thinly with seedless raspberry jam)
5 TBS sherry or sherry and fruit juice
 2 cups berries (I like to use a mix of raspberries
and blackberries) (save some to decorate the top)
1 packet of raspberry jelly/jello (4 serving size)

For the custard:
2 large free range eggs, separated
2 1/2 TBS caster sugar
240ml milk (1 cup)

To decorate:
240ml heavy cream (1 cup)
Berries (see above)
chopped toasted almonds


Lay the jelly roll slices in the bottom of a trifle dish. 
Alternately sandwich slices of pound/Madeira cake together with jam and
 lay in the bottom of the bowl.  Drizzle with the sherry or sherry/fruit
 juice. Top with the fruit. Prepare the packet of jelly according to the
 package directions and pour over the fruit.  Place in the refrigerator
to jell.

To make the custard, blend
together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. (Reserve the whites for
later) Warm the milk just to lukewarm, then pour it over the egg
mixture.  Stir well then return to the pan and cook over very low heat.
 Do not allow it to simmer or it will curdle.  When it is thick enough
to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from the heat. Let cool to
room temperature.  Pour over the set fruit/jelly layer, and leave to
Just before serving, whip the cream with
 the egg whites until the mixture forms soft peaks.  Spread over the
trifle.  Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and scatter berries over top.
 Serve cold.
Created using The Recipes Generator

This will be the last recipe that I am sharing with you prior to Christmas.  I do have a multitude of recipes on site for you to choose from, just put a search in the side column if you are looking for something in particular.  I do have many other trifle recipes should you be looking for another one, including a  delicious Pear and Ginger Trifle,  a fabulous Turkish Delight Trifle, and Christmas Pudding Trifles.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!  May it be filled with all the things that you love.  We have guests on both Christmas and Boxing days, so the kitchen will now be closed until the 27th.  Have a brilliant holiday!  God bless!

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  1. Oh yum! I love trifle and we always had one for Christmas back home. They don't do trifle here at all for Christmas, so I save mine for New Year's Eve instead. My Swedish husband loves it.

    The one I make is very similar to yours. I liked chopped tinned peaches in mine and some chopped coconut macaroons as well. I used port wine jelly in mine, but I can't get that here, so I make do with raspberry these days. Home made custard of course and lashings of whipped cream, with a few reserved peach slices, some glace cherries and grated chocolate on top.

    Thank you so much for all that you have shared with us. I love to make your recipes and enjoy your writing, I do hope that it's a very happy Christmas for you, Todd and the fabulous Mitzie! Warm wishes from a cold and snowy Sweden. xx

    1. Happy Christmas Marie! I hope you, Lars and the family have a wonderful holiday season and all the best to you in 2019! I am looking forward to cooking together again next year! Thanks also for the two way of our recipe sharing and all that you share with me! Love you! xoxo

  2. Hello Marie! I had one about 30 yrs ago in good company ..I bought a trifle dish right after and confess to perhaps using it twice:( I should remedy that!So festive.

    1. Its a very festive dessert for sure Monique! Maybe New Years?? xoxo

  3. Oh, my, my, my. Trifle was my all time favorite dessert but I've never seen one with Jello. I love it!

    1. You will find them both ways Katy! Some add jelly some don't! Some add crumbled macaroons. This is one desert which is delicious in every incarnation! Happy Christmas! xoxo

  4. I love trifle and have two recipes I make once or twice a year. This looks especially delicious and authentic!

    1. Thanks very much Jeanie! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! xoxo

  5. Hello, I was wondering, do you not put sweetener in the whipped cream? We have never heard of this, so I wanted to confirm. Thank you and merry Christmas!

    1. Hi, we never sweeten our cream, but you certainly can if you want to! Merry Christmas!xo

  6. Thank you! Growing up my Granny made this and it was my absolute favourite. My mom was able to make it for awhile too, but life happens and she can, both, no longer remember the recipe and cannot bake.
    Last year I went on a mission, to fine the recipe my Granny would make. The best I got was 3 recipes combined, it was close but not quite the one. Either not having the jam or the sherry, and I knew, I KNEW that both were in there!
    I cannot thank you enough...

    1. Aww so pleased you were able to find the right one! I hope it is all that you want in a trifle and helps to bring some really nice memories back for you all. Happy New Year. Thank you! xo

  7. is the repeat layering a new thing? i have seen the judges on a canadian bake off show complain if there wasnt repeat layering

    1. In a traditional English Trifle, there is no repeat layering. Just one layer of each. The sponge, the sherry, the fruit, the custard and the cream, with some fruit and or chocolate scattered on top for a decoration. You never see more than one layer of each item. It is important to note however that on a Bake Off kind of a show the judges are looking for people to take a basic idea and push it over the top, which is probably what you are seeing. This Trifle recipe is not a Bake Off Trifle, but a Classic Trifle.

  8. Fun that you should post this today. I am having a potluck supper with friends today, after seeing a performance of the Messiah. I had made your (sister's) gum drop cake a couple of days ago, in a bundt pan since it was so pretty in your pictures. The pan was not greased and floured well enough, and the gum drops I used melted, so it was an aesthetic disaster. Delicious, however! Since we are having raclette as our main, which is kind of DIY, I had decided to take all of the elements of trifle, and folks could DIY their own version! Happy holiday baking!

    1. That sounds like a wonderful example of making lemonade out of lemons! How wonderful! Happy Holiday Baking to you also! xo


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