Trifle – Berry Trifle | GF | DF
What a wonderful dessert for celebrations. Without a doubt, it’s a big favourite for Christmas and end of year parties. In England it comes close behind the fruit pudding in popularity, and in Australia, it’s definitely one of two favourite desserts, the first one being the incredible Pavlova. I love that the trifle is glorious in its stature – it’s such a centrepiece for a celebration. You can keep it really simple by using store-bought cake, custard and jello. Or you can take your time and prepare each layer yourself, giving it your own individual flair, It’s super pretty and tastes as amazing as each of those special layers.
I’m not partial to the added alcohol on the sponge layer myself, so tend to omit that. We’ve also kept the recipe dairy-free, so opted for vegan coconut custard and coconut cream. In fact, you can make the whole thing vegan by making an egg-free vanilla cake layer to suit all dietary preferences.
The jelly layer
I don’t mind ready mix jello, but I do have to admit that it has a very artificial taste due to the artificial flavouring. That’s why in this recipe we recommend you make your own using fresh juice. The taste difference is incredible and what it adds to the trifle is well worth the effort.
The history of the Trifle
I loved reading about the history of the Trifle. I knew the recipe was around a while but I had no idea just how far back it went. Vivienne Mackie’s history of trile is fun to read:
“Research indicates it evolved from a similar dessert known as a “fool” or “foole”, and originally the two names were used interchangeably. A “fool” is an English dessert generally made by mixing pureed fruit, whipped cream, sugar, and possibly a flavoring like rose water. “Foole” was first mentioned as a dessert in 1598 (together with trifle), although the origins of the famous gooseberry fool may date back even earlier. Why the word “fool” is used as the name of this fruit dessert is not clear.
The first trifles were simply a mixture of boiled cream and a few other ingredients. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that the trifle started to evolve into what we know today. Here is an example of a trifle recipe from 1852 by Frederick Bishop from “The Wife’s Own Book of Cookery” (quoted from Elizabeth David’s “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine”). “Cover the bottom of the dish with Naples biscuits, and macaroons broken in halves, wet with brandy and white wine poured over them, cover them with patches of raspberry jam, fill the dish with a good custard, then whip up a syllabub, drain the froth on a sieve, put it on the custard and strew comfits over all.”
(Naples biscuits was the name given to sponge fingers in England at the time; Syllabub was milk or cream whipped with sugar, spirits, spices, and sometimes egg whites; Comfits were sugar-coated coriander or caraway seeds.)
The history of the trifle is also linked to the history of those special sponge finger biscuits. They are also known around the world as Boudoir biscuits (our favorite), ladyfingers, sponge biscuits, Naples biscuits, and Savoy biscuits.”
Get ready to celebrate!