Ahh, the English……what are their greatest achievements in the culinary world ??? I am sure there are plenty but for me it is two major things…….introducing the world to the concept of curries thereby making Indian cuisine famous though if you ask an average Indian,  living in India who has never lived abroad,  to make you a chicken curry , he/she will you ask you what you are talking about !!!  Even though traditional English fare is not my cup of tea, I love , absolutely love their puddings, syllabub and desserts with the exception of the boiled ones !!! Lets face it, when Nigella Lawson talks about puddings and syllabub in her descriptive manner its hard to resist the urge to make them and eat them. I wonder if the descriptions just pop in her mind or if she is given a dialogue ‘coz I certainly would love that ability !!!!

Recently, V and I had invited some friends from his work to dinner. They were very nice and volunteered to bring a couple of things. At the last moment I realized that there was no dessert . What can be made in a couple of short hours ??? Maybe I could get some fruit and ice cream or maybe pick something up at the bakery ?? I decided that probably was the best thing to do and proceeded to the market where the first thing I see are strawberries on sale…….plump and gorgeous so I pick them up and decide that maybe I can serve them with pound cake and vanilla custard. I then remembered a recipe that we had to make in culinary school…. a berry trifle that was so good that we had to share with the students from all the batches …never had something, that had been cooked by novice chefs, been so appreciated !!!! So I picked up a few more ingredients and proceeded to make it , after a quick stop at the park for a play date with another family friend whom we had not seen for ages !! Yes , it is that simple and easy.

The trifle appears in English cookbooks as far back as the 1500s but it did not include milk . That came about 60 years later.The ones with jelly appear in the 1700s. The recipes that include the jelly are a little tedious to make so I came up with a speedy version after watching Nigella Lawson make a Chocolate Cherry Trifle. Traditionally port, sweet sherry or madeira is used to moisten the cake slices. Fruit juices may be used for the non alcoholic versions. I used a custard mix and jam in my version instead of the gelatin and traditional custard. I also used pound cake as they had run out of sponge cake at my bakery !!


1 lb. Pound Cake

4.6 oz Vanilla pudding pkg.

2-3 tbsp Raspberry Jam / Preserves

8 oz Strawberries, sliced

2 Bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4  cup Orange segments

1 Apple, peeled , cored and chopped

1 ½ cups Heavy Cream

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

¼ cup Sugar

Cut the cake lengthwise. Spread the jam on the cake and then make a sandwich. Cut into slices and keep aside.Prepare the custard according to the directions on the pkg. Cover with plastic wrap o prevent a skin forming and set aside.Layer the cake slices in a trifle dish.

    Top with a layer the fruits and then follow with a layer of the custard.

    Repeat this until all the cake slices are used up. You should get 2 layers each of cake and fruits.

    Cover with plastic wrap. It should touch the custard in order to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

    To the cream add the vanilla extract and sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

    Before serving , top the trifle with the whipped cream. Garnish and serve.








    Taste Test

    First of all this is one good looking dessert also very indulgent. Let me warn you though……these measurements will feed a lot of people. If its to be an intimate dinner party, I would halve the recipe. Anyway, the only thing I hate about the traditional English Trifle is the wet soggy cake layer which I eliminated. Also the most stressful part of this dessert….the cooking of the custard is eliminated !!! The custard is creamy and luscious , combined with ripe strawberries , the sweet and slightly tart raspberry jam and light as air vanilla flavoured whipped cream ……..oh yes, what’s not to like about this dessert !!!

    You can use sponge cake, pound cake, chocolate pound cake or even ladyfingers for the cake layer. You can use the custard or pastry cream for the custard layer. I think I have a recipe for a coconut milk based custard for a tropical fruit trifle ! You can also just omit the custard and use lemon curd, mascarpone cheese, chocolate custard…….your imagination is your only limit !!!! I garnished mine with sliced strawberries but I think toasted nuts would be excellent. It would also look pretty as individual servings in beautiful wine glasses. Now remember trifles are not supposed to have distinct layers, the layers will mix and look uneven but every spoonful will be just delicious and pure heaven !!!!



    This is off to Foodelicious ‘s Only Frozen or Chilled Event.