Sunday, January 30, 2011

English Trifle

Trifle 1, using orange sponge cake

Trifle 2, using swiss roll

Those familiar with British cooking will definitely know what English trifle is. The Brits are not known for their culinary prowess - that, I believe, is the territory of the French - but they do have a reasonable number of good, fuss-free dishes.

Rich and filling Shepherd's Pie is a good example. Another is Steak & Kidney Pie, my pub favourite during those young, carefree days. Yet another is that old standard-bearer, Fish & Chips, eaten with a sprinkling of vinegar.

And then there's Blighty classic Bubble & Squeak, a meat & vegetable dish made of beef, leftover potatoes and mashed cabbage. For desserts there's the oddly-named Spotted Dick which is actually a steamed fruit and raisin sponge pudding eaten with custard sauce.

My knowledge of British cooking is woefully limited to a select few, firstly because I have never taken to the kitchen and secondly because I prefer the more flavourful Mediterranean food than bland British offerings.

But English Trifle is something else altogether. It's a dessert dish made from thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice, gelatin or jelly, and whipped cream, all arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.

I have always liked trifle but did not have the right recipe to prepare it (and wasn't too keen about using recipes from the internet).

Thankfully, my blogger buddies Dee and Shahieda graciously parted with their respective English trifle recipes upon reading of my request in Facebook.

I have tried the recipes twice; they turned out reasonably okay and I would like to share them with you. Happy trying!


1) One swiss roll (evenly sliced). Can also use orange sponge cake (cut into small squares).

2) I big can of mixed fruits (I use Steffi's Choice), pour off syrup and put aside.

3) 1 packet of Nona instant jelly crystals (flavour according to cake type, strawberry for swiss roll, orange for orange sponge). Prepare as per instruction and put aside to cool.

4) 2 tbsps Bird's custard powder + 2 tbsps fresh milk, mix into a paste.

5) 200 ml (roughly one mug) fresh milk, add 2 tbsps sugar and bring to boil, then add custard paste and stir slowly until you get the right consistency.

6) Whipped cream, glace cherries and slivered almonds for decoration (if you like; I make do without them).


1) Cut cake into pieces and lay some pieces enough to cover the bottom of the bowl. If you use swiss roll, stack the pieces on the side of the bowl as well.

2) Moisten the cake pieces with canned fruit syrup (use a tablespoon to dribble the syrup). Dribble sparingly, else the cake will get too soggy.

3) Pour jelly onto cake (1st layer) and cool in the fridge for a couple of minutes.

4) Sprinkle mixed fruits on top of the jelly layer.

5) Pour custard on top of mixed fruits.

6) Start layering all over again with moistened cake pieces, followed by jelly, mixed fruits and custard, until you have used up all the ingredients.

7) If you like, you can decorate with whipped cream topped with glace cherries and sprinkled with slivered almonds (I prefer plain custard topping).

8) Let the bowl sit in your fridge for a short while, perhaps 30 minutes, before eating.


pakmat said...

..the way you are going lady, you are driving this coot into the kitchen, the howling wind and the monsoon nonwithstanding...and some Bacokians, a recalcitrant retiree I know, is also known for his culinary prowess..hehehe..will let you know if it turns out alright..

Kama At-Tarawis said...

pakmat... oooo good!

Proud mum said...

I always make trifle with my two girls.
It's the simplest dessert to make.
We are known for it that our friends and family call us Trifle Queen.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

PM: awwww.. how sweet! :-D

mamasita said...

if I singgah at your place, you buatkan I a small one please..just a English one of course!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

huda: kalau u habaq awai2 nak mai, for sure i buat.. :D.. and we still hv one karaoke session pending tau! dengan si maula..

HHalem said...


a frequent pub goer:-)

The only place full of life
after 5pm.

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
Aahhh....trifle....yummm....I'd like the one with the Swiss roll and strawberries boleh? And lots and lots of cream.... Barulah jadi "cat got cream" session. purrr....meow!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Halem - in days of yore before I saw the light (hehehe), I was pub crawler extraordinaire :-D..

cat - I too like the one using swiss roll and strawberry jelly. sinfully sedap!

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri ada kucing baru ke? Who's that tortie on the header? purrr....meow!

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Aww give me the plain bland English fares me any time, not those snorty French frog leg, snails & what not u have....kakaka.

Oh my, hahaha b4 u see the light; Sad to say, I'm still wondering aimlessly in that darkside, like as if I'm in a maze :))

Kama At-Tarawis said...

cat - the tortie is on a header i found whilst checking out some header sites. she looks garang, just like me..LOL

tommy - i'm not a fan of gourmet food myself. if it's there for the taking, i eat la..hehehe.. my favourite cooking remains Thai.. i absolutely love Thai food.

Aida Marie Mohamad said...

Kak Puteri, I tengah kepunan ni...semalam D tak sempat buat trifle dah 2 minggu menaruh harapan. LOL. Will try to make it this weekend.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

aida.. isy habaq tak drop by ajer over the weekend. dok ada semangkuk.. baru sat sat habis.. :D