Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Trifle….the amazing possibilities

When I went to go visit my aunt in Jacksonville, Fl two years ago, it was a blast. It was my spring break, I was with my friend Laura, my family, and I was near the beach. So one afternoon, my aunt and I decided to prepare a huge dinner for the family. But of course you can’t forget dessert. So we went on the lookout for the best dessert ever. She then introduced me to a dessert called a trifle. I had never heard of this before, but decided it sounded good and we set you to get all the ingredients. About an hour later, it was done and it sure did look amazing. I do not have the exact recipe we used, but this one is a similar one, and let me tell you, they are amazing. You can also buy small trifle cups and make individual ones. Go ahead and try this recipe out!

Author Notes:My trifle recipe is a lifesaver when you have to feed a crowd. Using cake and custard mixes, it’s fast and easy to make, it looks spectacular layered in a large glass bowl, and everyone (and I do mean everyone) loves it. There is never any leftovers and even people who don’t normally eat dessert have been seen chowing down on huge bowls.A traditional English dessert consisting of layers of cake doused in some sort of alcohol, usually sherry, then layered with jam and custard, I’ve played with the original trifle theme quite a bit, as you’ll see in the variations below. While sherry is the traditional spirit to add to trifle, you can also use brandy, rum or other liqueurs. You can just as easily eliminate alcohol entirely, the recipe is still delicious!

Since this is a “quick and easy” recipe, it uses your choice of cake mix (suggestions below) and pudding or custard mix. That said, I must put my two cents in and say that, in my opinion, Bird’s Dessert Mix — made in England and imported in the US by Kraft — is by far the best you can use. I have no connection with the Bird’s company, nor am I getting paid to say this, it’s just that I’ve tried lots of other brands of custards and nothing comes close to Bird’s. You can usually find it in most well stocked grocery stores.  Cost Plus World Markets usually carry it too.

Ingredients:The Basic Recipe:
1 cake mix ( see notes below)
2 packets of custard or pudding mix (see note above)
2 bags, 1 pound each, frozen fruit or equivalent sliced fresh fruit
1/3 cups sugar (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped (or to save time, use whipped topping)

additional fresh fruit for garnish

1/3 cups sherry or other liquor (optional)

Instructions:Basic Instructions:
Prepare cake according to directions on package. Let cool completely.

Prepare custard or pudding mix according to package instructions. Let cool completely.

Mix fruit with sherry. If you don’t want to use alcohol, use a little water or juice instead. You want the fruit to be sitting, but not swimming, in a bit of sweetened juice. Some people like to really soak the cake in the alcohol, then add the fruit on top. I think this can tend to make the cake too soggy, so I prefer less.

Whip the cream.

To Assemble:
Trifle is very forgiving, it takes no effort to make and  it looks great! If you don’t have a trifle bowl, like the one in the photo, use any large glass bowl. It doesn’t technically have to be glass, but it looks prettier if it is. You can also make individual servings by placing the layers in large wine goblets.

Cut the cakes into large chunks and cover the bottom of your dish with a layer of cake. Top with a layer of prepared fruit, then a layer of custard. Repeat the process until you are out of ingredients or the bowl is full. Top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit. Chill until serving time.


To Serve:
Simply scoop out servings with a large spoon.

Trifle Tips and Variations:
While a sponge cake is traditional, when a white cake is called for I often like using Angel Food Cake, as it holds up to the fruit without getting soggy. The variations below are just to get you going. I know you’ll come up with some of your own as well.

Low or No Fat Trifle:
You can make a virtually fat-free trifle by using angel food cake, fat free pudding and low or no fat whipped topping.

Strawberry Shortcake TrifleYellow or Angel Food Cake, Custard and Strawberries

Black Forest TrifleChocolate Cake, Cherry Pie Filling and Custard

Chocolate Raspberry Trifle — Chocolate Cake, Raspberries and Custard

Tropical Fruit TrifleAngel Food Cake, Mixed Pineapple, Mangos, Papayas, etc. and either Vanilla or Lemon Pudding, Sprinkle top with Toasted Coconut

Apples & Cream Trifle
Yellow or Spice Cake, Apple Pie Filling and Custard

Peaches & Cream Trifle — Angel Food Cake, Sliced Peaches, Optional Alcohol: Peach Schnapps or Brandy

Red, White & Blueberry Trifle (my favorite) —
Angel Food Cake, Mixed Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries, Custard

Raspberry Lemon Trifle — Yellow or Lemon Cake, Lemon Pie Filling and Raspberries

Banana Cream TrifleWhite or Chocolate Cake, Sliced Bananas, Custard

Torie Nicholas

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