How To Make Trifles

Trifles are layers and layers of delicious ingredients. It is like having several desserts in one: sponge soaked with liqueur, fruit, home-made custard and lashings of whipped cream. And a trifle need not stop there. Fruit, nuts, crushed caramel, chocolate, glace and crystallized fruit can all be used as decorations.

Sugared trifle sponges are nicest for the base. Soak these with a liqueur or other alcohol to complement the fruit you will be using. Sherry, Cointreau, Marsala or brandy can all be used. If you do not want to use alcohol, fruit juice can be used instead. Top with your chosen fruit (fresh or cooked) and a thick pouring custard.

Spread generously with whipped cream and decorate as you wish.

Basic Trifle

1 stale sponge cake

or 6 trifle sponges Strawberry or raspberry jam (optional)

425 g (15 oz) fresh or cooked fruit, canned sliced peaches or pear halves

30 ml (2 tablespoons) sherry

575 ml (1 pt) thick custard

275 ml (½ pt) fresh double cream

Toasted almonds

Cut sponge cake(s) into slices and arrange in a large glass trifle dish or spread the fingers over the base. If desired, spread with strawberry or other red jam. If using canned fruit, drain (reserving the juice) and reserve some fruit for decoration. When you use fresh fruit, reserve a few berries or slices. Sprinkle sherry and drained fruit juice on sponge then add most of the fruit, spread on top of the sponge. Spoon on warm thick custard and leave until cold. Whip cream and spoon or pipe over the custard. Decorate with reserved fruit and almonds. Chill before serving. Serves 4.