Considering the ongoing Wimbledon and the upcoming Olympics, England is quite the taste of the season. So why not try making a traditional English dessert? The first thing that comes to my mind is the humble Trifle. It’s a delicious layered concoction of cake, custard, fruit and cream – a treat for your eyes and your taste buds!
The beauty of the Trifle is that it is very versatile. You can make different versions by simply changing some ingredients and literally serve up a new trifle every time! A trifle consists of layers of cake, alternating with fruit, cream and custard. Some recipes also add jelly for good measure! Many recipes suggest moistening the cake with some sort of sweet alcohol, such as port or sherry.
Be warned that what follows is not a traditional trifle recipe. This is the way I make it. Or rather, this is the way I made it last week! I have almost never set out to make a trifle; I usually put something together when I have leftover cake or biscuits that need to be finished off! So, instead of writing a proper recipe, I’m going to write a general ‘how-to’ about the various layers in a trifle and then suggest some alternatives for each. Also, I don’t make one huge trifle in a trifle bowl; I prefer to make small individual servings in some pretty glasses. It’s less messy to serve it this way and it also means that you can enjoy a helping without stuffing yourself too much!
To begin the trifle, cut up the cake into small pieces and tightly line the bottom of the serving glass. If the cake is too dry, you can give it a little soak – use milk/ sugar syrup/ port/ sherry/ liqueur, whatever takes your fancy. Instead of cake, you can also line the bottom with biscuit pieces.
Next, put a layer of thick custard. I make my custard from a packet. You can try making custard from scratch but I find packet custard has better consistency and there are less chances of messing it up! I always have a packet of custard powder in my refrigerator, so I can whip it up in a jiffy.
The next layer would be fresh fruits or jam. I use strawberry, because what says English Summer (and Wimbledon) better than strawberries and cream! You can use any other berries or bananas or kiwi, or any seasonal fruit that you think will go with cake and custard. You can use jelly instead of jam, but I have never really liked the taste of it much. But if you’re a jelly person, go right ahead!
Now repeat the layers – cake, custard & fruit. You can stop here or if you are feeling indulgent, top it up with some whipped cream and stick a slice of fruit or cake in it. Voila! A fancy-looking dessert that doesn’t require too much preparation!