Food & dining

Recipe for trifle

Serves 8

One of the best known and widely loved English desserts, trifles vary greatly but always include layers of cake, custard, and fruit. The cake is traditionally soaked with sherry, but any kind of liquor can be used. In England, this would be made in a special trifle bowl. Plan ahead as trifle must be refrigerated for several hours before serving.


2cups whole milk
½cup sugar
2egg yolks
¼cup cornstarch
2tablespoons butter
1teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and ¼ cup sugar. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat.


2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Whisk in the cornstarch and the remaining ¼ cup sugar until smooth. Whisk in the milk in a thin, steady stream.

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3. Return the mixture to the pan. Cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil; simmer, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

5. Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl. Smooth out the surface. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until chilled.


1package (16 ounces)
frozen mixed fruits or
4 cups fresh mixed berries
¼cup water
1tablespoon sugar
One pound cake
(1 pound), cut into ½-inch-thick slices
2tablespoons sherry
½cup heavy cream
1teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Have on hand a 1½ quart bowl.

2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the frozen or fresh berries, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil.

3. Lower the heat to medium heat and cover the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and crushing the berries as you stir.

4. Remove the lid and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes or until it reduces by about . Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate.

5. Line the bowl with pound cake, trimming the pieces to get a perfect fit; fill in any gaps with the trimmings. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sherry over the cake slices, top with ¼ cup of the fruit mixture, and spoon on half the custard. Spread with a rubber spatula.


6. Repeat the layers until all the fruit and custard is used. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

7. In an electric mixer with a cold bowl and cold beaters, beat the cream and vanilla on medium-high speed until the cream holds soft peaks. Spread the cream over the trifle. Matt Barber