Tuesday, January 26, 2010

THE BRITISH INVASION: Just a (Birthday!) Trifle

Welcome to Day Two of Ready, Set, Craft's One Year Blogiversary Bash!  Miss yesterday's post?  Click on the Birthday button to your left.  

New to THE BRITISH INVASION?  Click the Union Jack Flag on the left side of your screen to get caught up!

No matter your age, it's not a birthday without a cake and candles.  Hubby's birthday was the perfect excuse to kick off THE BRITISH INVASION by taking the birthday cake a step beyond to norm... and making a birthday TRIFLE!

 Trifle is one of my all time favorite desserts.  According to Wikipedia... (note jelly is to England as jell-o is to the US.  Don't get confused!)

A trifle is a dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or, more recently, gelatin, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.

The earliest known use of the name trifle was for a thick cream flavoured with sugar, ginger and rosewater, the recipe for which was published in 1596 in a book called "The good huswife's Jewell". It wasn't until sixty years later when milk was added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread

Some trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions may use sweet juices instead, as the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake layers.

One popular trifle variant has the sponge soaked in jelly (liquid-gelatin dessert) when the trifle is made, which sets when refrigerated. The egg and jelly bind together and produce a pleasant texture if made in the correct proportions.

Traditional trifles did not contain jelly.

A trifle is often used for decoration as well as taste, incorporating the bright, layered colours of the fruit, jelly, egg custard, and the contrast of the cream.

My Mum has always made trifle for birthday's, special occasions or parties, and we most recently enjoyed it this past Christmas.  My BFF in England and fellow trifle-lover, Claire, and I chatted about trifle at the beginning of this year, noting the differences between our families' recipes, and those of other Brits.  

Talking to Claire is what gave me the inspiration for THE BRITISH INVASION, and she was kind enough to share her very own trifle recipe, and even provided some of the text and photos I'll be sharing today.  So without further ado, here we go!

 You will need:
A deep dish – glass ones are good because then you can see all the layers!
Pound cake or sponge cake

Jam (optional)
Fruit – can use anything but we think raspberries or strawberries are best!
Sherry or fruit juice
Jelly – preferably the same flavor as the fruit!
Birds Custard Powder
Milk and sugar (for custard)

Whipping Cream
Sliced, blanched almonds (optional)

Take your sponge or pound cake and line the bottom of your dish.  If you like, spread a little jam on each piece.  Here's Claire's... WITH jam...

And mine... without!

If you're old school like my Mum and me, you'll add about two tablespoons of sherry at this point, and let it soak into the cake.  Sherry is a fortified wine, you can find it near the port in the liquor aisle.  If you're like Claire and don't care for sherry, you can use any sweet fruit juice instead!  (Claire prefers orange or apple)

Then you can add your fruit – that’s layer two!  Claire used strawberries and raspberries, I used plain strawberries.

Make up your jelly (remember, jelly in England is jell-o here!)

 Pour on enough jelly to just about cover the sponge and fruit.  Add the jelly slowly so that too much doesn't get under the cake.  You don't want the jelly to be above the fruit.  Layer three done!

Add your custard – this is layer four!  I used Bird's Custard Powder which is imported from England - I found it in the world foods section of my local grocery store!

At this point, I added sliced almonds... but this is optional!

  Using an electric whisk, whisk a carton of whipping cream until stiff.  You still need it soft enough to spread on your trifle, so do the spoon test – spoon some of the mixture and if it falls off the spoon on its own, it’s just right!  (thanks for the tip, Claire!)

Spread the cream on top of your trifle.  That’s Layer five!

Now decorate if you wish!  Claire uses hundreds and thousands (aka sprinkles!) or you could put some fresh raspberries/strawberries on the top!  Layer six completes the trifle!!!

Claire's finished trifle!

My Mum usually garnishes our trifles with more almonds, but since it was Hubby's birthday I took a leaf out of Claire's book...

My first trifle was a SUCCESS!  What fun!  I must admit I picked the easiest British recipe to start off with, so stay tuned for more BRITISH INVASION posts to see my attempts at cooking traditional British recipes!

And be sure to come back tomorrow for more birthday fun including a GIVEAWAY!  See you then, friends!


Betty Manousos said...

Came over from SITS .
Happy Anniversary!! That sounds delicious! Great photos too.
I just love your blog:)

rachel said...

Hi there, fellow PEAR! How yummy that trifle looks. It's also a favorite dessert of mine, and your's looks absolutely PEAR-fect!

Claire said...

Love it! So thrilled with your birthday trifle - what a fab idea! Hope Travis liked it! Think we should do scones next - they're my favourite and one of my specialities! xx

M.E. Greene said...

Yum yum yum... I'm drooling!