Trifle revival!

It is my aim in the post to convert each and every one of you to one of our most classic desserts – The Sherry Trifle. No longer seen on our dining room tables since the death of hostess trolleys & bad perms. The sherry trifle epitomises everything that was wonderful about the 1970’s (apart from me of course born July 1975) So, as I was saying in my hunt for the perfect dessert for a family meal I stumbled across this beauty. This is in fact a recipe by the goddess of cooking Rachel Allen. I found it whilst looking for ideas for a Christmas Day lunch menu and decided that this had to be the one.

My first challenge was to make for the first time creme patisserie. A very rich & sweet custard often used in French pastries. I was slightly worried as I had watched the contestants in the Great British Bake Off make it and talk of splitting  and it being too runny but thankfully my first attempt was I think a success (according to my family at least) It wasn’t actually that difficult. You just had to give it the attention it deserved and not to take your eye off it for a minute. I would say if anything it went a little thick but once in the trifle you really didn’t notice.

Here is the recipe for the trifle with my notes added on – go on dare to be different and make a trifle (not a tin of fruit cocktail in sight!!)


  1. 300g Madeira cake (needs about 500g of cake)
  2. 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  3. 4 tbsp sweet sherry
  4. 284ml pot whipping cream (or double cream)
  5. Silver balls, angelica (from cake decorating aisles of supermarkets) and glacé cherries, halved, to decorate

For the creme patissiere

  1. 6 medium free-range egg yolks
  2. 110g caster sugar
  3. 35g plain flour
  4. 475ml milk
  5. 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped


  1.  Make the crème pâtissière. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until really thick and pale. Stir in the flour.
  2.  Bring the milk and a pinch of salt to the boil in a pan, then remove from the heat. Add the vanilla seeds and vanilla pod, cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  3.  Remove the vanilla pod and reheat the milk to boiling point, then strain into the egg mixture, stirring as you pour. Return to a cleaned-out pan and whisk over a gentle heat until boiling. Don’t worry if it goes lumpy, just keep whisking over a low heat until smooth, then allow to boil. Once smooth, cook, whisking continuously, for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl and cover the surface (not the bowl the actual surface of the cream or you will get liquid on the surface)with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Set aside to cool completely.
  4.  Slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the bottom half with the jam, then sandwich firmly with the top half.(plenty of jam and don’t worry if it runs over the sides) Slice into 3cm pieces. Lay half the cake (I would lay all the cake in the bottom)in the bottom of a 2-2.5-litre glass bowl, then drizzle with half the sherry. Whisk the crème pâtissière, and spoon half over the soaked sponge. Repeat with the remaining sponge, sherry and crème pâtissière. (no need to repeat if all sponge at the bottom)
  5. . Whip the cream until it is just starting to hold its shape and spoon onto the top of the trifle. Decorate with silver balls, angelica and glacé cherries. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Take the trifle out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off it.

This recipe was found at –


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