I’m blogging about this because it is the perfect vintage dessert. It’s been around for centuries now and the version most often found on the British table is not a delicate or sensual thing – it is a bolshy technicolor Pat Butcher of a pudding. French trifles are delicate, vanilla scented custardy delights, I bet the Italians do something subtle with feather light sponge, but no. Not for us. For the base of a classic British trifle you need a block of rubbery jelly, some trifle sponges and a tin of fruit cocktail. You know, the tin full of beige lumps that may have once been fruit? If you’re lucky you’ll find two half cherries in there.
Get a nice glass dish, layer your trifle sponges in the bottom, ladle on your fruit and cover with jelly.
Let this set in the fridge, then make up some Bird’s custard. Radioactive yellow custard, from a cardboard tub. I find that if you use nice fresh custard from the supermarket, a skin doesn’t form and therefore it’s hard to spread the double cream on top.
This is the final step, use a flat knife to spread double cream over your custard layer, and then decorate the top as you wish. When I was a kid hundreds and thousands were the only option. Now I like to grate some chocolate on.
The thing is, even though I’ve been so disparaging about this dessert, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the colours, the layers, the big squelching spoonfuls and the general tackiness of it. I think it’s one of the first desserts I learned to make and I’ve made very few changes over the years to how I make it. It’s always an event too. Oooh, a trifle. Nothing more exciting to have proudly sitting in the back of your fridge. Go on, have a go! I dare you…
It is with the gauntlet thrown down I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!