I have never understood why a dessert which can be as simple or as complicated as a trifle was given a name that implies that it is something of no great matter.
The very first known recipe was published in 1596 in a book called ” The good huswife’s Jewell”. It was not like the trifles of today, being nothing more than thick cream flavoured with sugar, ginger and rosewater. It wasn’t until sixty years later when eggs were added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread.
To me, a trifle is a wonderful dessert, full of flavours and textures – a dessert that can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
It has variations that are eaten around the world and can grace tables from the poshest of events to the humble school canteen.
It is a dessert that inspires creativity even with minimum of effort or cooking skills.
You can impress dinner guests with a delicious mix of alcohol soaked sponge and a creamy topping or, with a packet jelly and a tin of fruit, satisfy a hungry hoard of youngsters at a birthday party.
A trifle can be any thing you want it to be, but one thing’s for certain – it isn’t just for Christmas!
RASPBERRY DREAM TRIFLE
5 trifle sponges
2 rounded tablespoons raspberry jam
120 ml Madeira or sherry
400 g frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 x 250g tub mascarpone
1 x 500 ml tub ready-made custard
few drops vanilla essence
150 g white chocolate
fresh raspberries and toasted flaked almonds for decoration
Split the trifle sponges in half. Spread each half with raspberry jam and sandwich back together. Cut each sandwich into 3 pieces and arrange in the base of a large 1.¾ litre capacity trifle bowl.
Sprinkle evenly with the Madeira or sherry and set aside for at least half an hour to allow the liquid to soak in.
Puree the thawed raspberries with the sugar until smooth then spread over the sponge mixture.
Beat the custard, vanilla essence and mascarpone together until well blended.
Reserving a square of chocolate for decoration, melt the remainder in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Allow to cool slightly then beat into the custard mixture. Spoon evenly over the top of the raspberry puree.
Decorate with the fresh raspberries, toasted almonds and finish by grating the reserved square of white chocolate over the top.
Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.