Trifling with Trifles

There is a great deal of coughing going on today. It’s fairly seismic, so if you’re in the Leicester area and you think you might be experiencing earth tremors, do not fear. It is merely the collective Boos’ coughing fits causing small ripples in the earth’s crust.

I am resigned to my fate. If I am to be the grumpiest nurse in the world, so be it.

Instead of fretting about plagues I have turned my mind to the issue of trifle.

My mother is a life long and devoted fan of the trifle. She is particularly fond of a good sherry trifle, and when I lived in Oxford, many a long lunch would be spent at Browns, because as any fule no, they used to do a splendid sherry trifle.

Alas, it is no more.

The trifle that is. Browns is still going strong.

Trifle was a staple dessert of the Seventies. I recall many a packet of trifle sponges lurking in the pantry, and many a heaving buffet table resplendent with a cut glass bowl, awash with whipped cream, flaked almonds and those lurid, traffic light coloured glace cherries.

You never see those any more do you?

I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with trifle. Firstly I do not like soggy cake, which when soaked in jelly and left to set, is always soggy. I hate the way it turns into glutinous, gelatinous crumbs as you eat it.

Secondly I bloody hate sherry.

Thirdly, I loathe glace cherries.

I did used to like the cream and custard layers though.

In recent years, trifle has had something of a makeover. It has been deconstructed, reconstructed and tweaked within an inch of its trifley life. It is hard to know where to start with a trifle these days.

We are having our usual boxing day shindig over at my mum’s this year, and rather than a second, gargantuan roast, which we have taken to in recent years, we are going back to buffet stylings. My mum has requested that I be in charge of making a trifle, because she fancies one.

Fair enough.

In mulling this over, I realise that I actually haven’t ever made a trifle. Ever. Not once. I haven’t even ever thought about making a trifle.

This is troubling.

I have been hitting my recipe books today, and realised that the more I read, and the more options I amass, the more paralysed with trauma I become about the whole thing. I am scaring myself. With trifle.

It is not to be endured.

I have decided to be strong and take control of the trifle situation. I can do this. I am a middle aged woman. I have mastered Swiss meringue butter cream. I have made Yule logs. I have yet to get to grips with the world of macarons, but I am sweeping that aside. I will prevail over trifle.

Firstly I am going to make Sasha’s individual chocolate trifles, from Friends Food, Family for the kids.  This will work a treat, and will win me multiple brownie points from all concerned.

Secondly I am going to make a mash up of Sasha’s Blackberry and Apple Trifle, and Nigel Slater’s, Nigel’s Delightful Trifle from The Kitchen Diaries, with a few tweaks of my own. It is going to be monster.

Thirdly, because I have never done this before and I am not completely insane, I am going to road test it next Sunday, and invite the parents over for a dressing the Christmas tree afternoon tea and trifle testing event.

We will be awash with trifle by the time Christmas rolls around. And I use the word rolls advisedly.

10 responses to “Trifling with Trifles

  1. It sounds like great fun. There aren’t many things to go wrong with a trifle so I am sure that you will triumph.

  2. Sounds very yum. My Mum in the 70s (actually right though the 80s) used to make some bastard pudding cake that includes a packet of actual jello vanilla pudding. It was …. soggy. One of the few baking items of hers that weren’t good. She was brilliant at pies & tarts & squares. Awful cook, though. Every stew and soup ever had copious amounts of turnip.

  3. I am not a cook…or baker…or even very competent in the kitchen…but every year I make a trifle….and listen up.people….. NO JELLY………just tons of lightly alcohol soaked sponge, bananas, raspberries, custard, tons and tons of cream, toasted almonds and flake on top….it is usually a triumph..just sayin’……..

  4. *is very interested in your trifle photos*

  5. A proper trifle should make a sort of squelchy noise when the first spoonful is taken out. Your blog brings back happy memories of Christmas trifles made by friends of my parents who as a little girl I called Aunt and Uncle. The the trifle was always topped with cream from the Jersey cows umm lovely. Thankyou for all you blogs. You have made me laugh and cry but never dull.

  6. A pleasure. xx

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