Prep 4 hrs
Cook 10 mins
Treat your family and friends to this superb traditional boozy trifle full of sherry, raspberries and cream, especially popular at Christmas time. (Forget about counting calories until the New Year!) A trifle is a typically British dessert made with thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or alcohol, and whipped cream. Interestingly it was always made so as to use up, stale, left over sponge cake, which is then softened with either fruit juices or a sweet alcohol like sherry. It really is best not to use fresh sponge as it just goes very soggy and mushy. In the UK you can buy "sponge fingers" or "sponge trifle cakes" which are perfect, or if you have an Italian shop nearby, try ready made tiramisu sponge. It's really easy to make and the ingredients are usually arranged in layers with the fruit and sponge on the bottom, and the custard and cream on top. The best trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or madeira wine. If you can't drink alcohol, you can use fruit juice instead, the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake. Trifle containing sherry is sometimes called 'sherry trifle' or referred to as being 'High Church'!! We often had a sherry trifle for dessert or tea on a Sunday afternoon, it was a delicious end to a lazy and relaxing day!
- 8 single trifle sponge cakes or 8 -12 ounces stale sponge cakes
- 4 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 6 tablespoons sweet sherry
- 12 ounces frozen raspberries, partially thawed or 12 ounces fresh raspberries
- 4 ounces ratafia biscuits or 4 ounces amaretti or 4 ounces macaroons
- 1 pint milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar, plus a little
- caster sugar, for sprinkling
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cornflour
- 3⁄4 pint whipping cream
- 2 ounces sliced almonds, toasted
- glace cherries or fresh raspberry, to decorate
- silver dragees, to decorate
- Split the sponges in half then spread each half thinly with raspberry jam.
- Sandwich each half back together and cut into quarters.
- Place in the base of three and a half pint (2 litre) glass trifle bowl.
- Sprinkle the sherry over the sponges and spoon over the partially thawed raspberries and their juice.
- Roughly crush the ratafia biscuits and sprinkle over the raspberries.
- Chill for 3-4 hours.
- Place the milk and vanilla pod in a small pan and slowly bring to just below boiling point.
- Transfer to a heatproof jug and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
- Place the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a bowl and whisk together.
- Whisk in the milk, then strain the liquid back into the rinsed pan through a fine sieve.
- Cook over a gentle heat , stirring constantly until the custard starts to thicken, being careful not to allow to boil.
- Cook gently for two minutes unit the custard is a thick pouring consistency.
- Quickly pour the custard into a cold bowl to prevent further cooking.
- Sprinkle the surface with a thin coating of caster sugar to prevent a skin forming.
- Set aside and leave to cool.
- Spoon the cold custard onto the raspberries in the trifle bowl, spreading to the edges with a palette knife.
- Gently whip the cream until it nearly holds its shape, then spoon three quarters of it on top of the custard and carefully spread to the sides of the bowl.
- Whip the remaining cream until it holds it shape.
- Pipe swirls of cream around the top of the bowl and decorate with flaked almonds and cherries, silver dragees or raspberries.