The word “trifle” comes from the old French term “trufle,” and literally means something whimsical or of little consequence. A proper English trifle is made with real egg custard poured over sponge cake soaked in fruit and sherry and topped with whipped cream.
An English trifle is a quintessential dessert that has graced British tables for more than four centuries. This decadent-looking treat is simply luscious. Variations abound—some with jelly and some not, while fruit is a must-have for some and a turn-off to others.
Essentially, a trifle needs a sponge soaked in sherry (for adults) or fruit juice (for teetotalers or children), a thick layer of creamy custard, and a deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream. The rest is all about personal preference.
A trifle made with jelly might be more appealing to children; if so, do leave out the sherry. If you prefer a trifle without jelly, simply omit and proceed without—this will be quicker to make as it will not require setting in the fridge. Both are equally delicious.
Make note that when making this dessert, the trifle can be made in one large glass dish or assembled in individual glasses.
Tips To Make Trifle Recipe
- The Cake: You can choose an eggless cake or an egg based cake. You can make at home a day before or buy from the market or a good bakery. You can also use leftover cake. The type of cakes that make an excellent base for trifle pudding are: Eggless sponge cake, Eggless vanilla cake, or Eggless chocolate cake
- Custard Sauce: Custard can be made with custard powder or corn starch (known as corn flour in India). If adding corn starch then add some vanilla extract or essence in the custard. Use the same amount of corn starch as mentioned in the recipe below and add ½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla essence
- Mixed fruits: Fruits like apples, mangoes, papaya, chikoo (sapota), figs, pomegranate can be used. Even berries give a great flavour and texture. Avoid adding citrus fruits, cherries and melons as they are incompatible with milk according to ayurveda. Even bananas with milk are incompatible and cause lethargy, but I did add bananas 🙂
- Whipped Cream: You can use a low fat cream or even whipping cream. I only get amul cream where I live, so I have used that. You can also use malai (cream floating on top of milk). Just whip ½ cup of chilled malai till it become smooth and gets soft peaks. We are not great fans of whipping so I have avoided it.
- You can also some dry fruits and nuts in the trifle recipe. Various fruit purees or berry coulis can also be added to give a variation in the trifle recipe. Even fruit jam can be added.
- Serve trifle pudding as a dessert after its set.
3 tbsp custard powder,
500 ml milk,
4 tbsp sugar,
Fruits of your choice
1/4th cup grated coconut, lightly toasted
- Follow the instructions on the custard pack to make the custard. Allow it to cool completely.
- Cut all the fruits of your choice and place in individual bowls. Set aside.
- If you have left over sponge cake, you can use it. I didn’t have, so I have used Britannia cake, cut into cubes.
- In a trifle glass, put 2 spoons of the custard at the base. Then add the sponge cake.
- Arrange the fruits of your choice one over the other. Sprinkle some roasted coconut.
- Now spoon over some more custard as the final layer.
- Garnish with roasted coconut and pomegranates.
- Leave it in the refrigerator for and hour.
- Serve chilled.
- If you have some left over sponge from any previous cake that you would have made, put it in a ziplock and freeze it. You could use the sponge for making a trifle.
- The choice of fruits depends upon the season and taste.
- You could alter the flavour of the trifle by changing the flavour of the custard too. I have used plain custard.
- You could add more variations like cubed jellies, caramel drizzling, chopped roasted nuts, whipped cream, the choice is endless. It all depends on what you have in hand and how elaborate you would want to make it into.