Some time ago we had friends over from the US, we made a trifle and discovered not only had they never seen it before, but they loved it and had us sending recipes and ingredients over for quite a while after as they were introducing it to everyone they knew, they said they didn’t haveit in America at all, I verified this with Allee last week, it’s a desert dish, very often made at Christmas over here and very much a party food. If you don’t love it, your friends will as it is delicious and it contains Allee’s favourite ingredient…. jello!
Firstly, you need sponge cake, over here we can actually buy trifle sponges which come in a packet and are in fingers and sort of firm, but you can use normal sponge cake, prefereably let it go a little dry though as this works better than fresh, light sponge, also the denser the better.
So, stage one, take a large desert bowl, something like you’d make a fruit punch in. Take your sponge and line the bottom of the bowl and then build until you have filled about 2 thirds of the bowl (variations later) Now make your favourite flavour of jello and pour it over the sponge so that it just covers it. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set.
The next layer may take some explaining, over here we have a custard mix called birds custard, now I’m reliably informed that this is VERY hard to come by in the US, but if you cannot find it, don’t worry, it just means you have to make some custard the old fashioned way with egg yolks and milk and vanilla, look for a recipe for custard, a word of warning when making custard, heat it VERY slowly, stirring all the time or you will spoil the consistency. When the custard is finished, allow it to cool but not go completely cold, just slightly lukewarm. Now add a generous layer of custard onto the set jello/sponge mix, probably about half as thick as the jello is, definetly no more, but a little less is fine. Return it to the refrigerator and allow to chill.
Next, on top of the custard goes a nice layer of whipped cream, you can use the aerosol stuff at a pinch if you’re lazy but fresh whipped cream is best, top with some flaked chocolate and keep in the refrigerator until you serve it.
When layering the sponge you can also add some fruit in there just to make it a little more special, strawberry and raspberry are probably the most popular flavours.
When you have made your jello, add a glug of Sherry, this makes the other variant as we have ‘trifle’ and ‘sherry trifle’ Trust me, if you make this once you WILL be making it again!