Trifle is the quintessential pudding that has graced British tables for more than four centuries. It is simply, the quintessential British pudding, striking in its blousy looks, decadent, rich and simply luscious. Some will boast jelly, some not; fruit is a must-have for some, for others, no way. Essentially a trifle needs sponge soaked (if for adults) in sherry, a thick layer of creamy custard and deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream; the rest is all about personal preference. Some trifle recipes are quick - made using ready-made packs which simply require assembling - these are OK but do not come close to the flavour of a home made one.
The earliest trifle was sweet cream, with added sugar ginger and rosewater (a recipe in a 1596 edition of "The good huswife's Jewell" . Over the next 60 years, eggs were added and the custard was then poured over alcohol saoked bread. Jelly was a later addition in the 1700's made from bones of calve's feet (from Wikipedia). So, in modern times, the ingredients of trifle haven't changed much - it would appear that sherry is a special addition for the grown up version in most recipes. Here is another example ...
For a fabulous Christmas trifle layer some sponge fingers with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries, sprinkle over some sherry and then add a raspberry Jelly, custard and cream. Top it all off with some fresh raspberries and toasted almonds for a truly special Christmas dessert... sounds so simple
Nothing much more to add, except that a good trifle creates family traditions and stories to tell for years after - isn't that all part of celebrating Christmas?
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