Authentic English Trifle:

First, make a soft, rich custard: beat 4 egg yolks until light and pale yellow. Heat 2 cups light cream with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon orange flower water or vanilla. Add beaten egg yolks, while beating very hard. Then cook without boiling, stirring continuously until custard coats the spoon. Remove to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Cut a two-layer sponge cake (that you bake or buy) into finger-length pieces. Spread each one on one side with raspberry jam and quickly dip in 1/2 cup sherry. Place half these sponge fingers in the bottom of a deep cut-glass bowl. Cover with half the custard. Whip 2 cups cream. Sweeten with 1/2 cup icing sugar and vanilla to taste. Cover custard with half the whipped cream. Make a second layer on top of all this. Top with a dozen or so toasted almonds, standing them upright in the cream, add a few slivers of angelica - or use small roses instead of almonds and angelica. Refrigerate at least 12 hours. This beautiful dessert never fails to create a sensation, yet is easy to prepare.

~from The Best of Mme. Jehane Benoit From: Sandee Eveland From: Quizro

Egg-Free Trifle for Craig

This recipe does not make a Traditional English Trifle. It's an egg-free treat invented by me for my nephew, who is allergic to eggs. There are two parts of a trifle that can present a problem to the egg-sensitive individual: the cake, and the custard.

The Cake

Not only is this cake ridiculously easy to make, but it is flavored with sherry, enabling you to bypass your sister-in-law's objections to getting the children drunk on dessert (the alcohol will evaporate during baking).


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Measure the dry ingredients into an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Stir them together with a fork. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl, then pour them over the dry ingredients. Stir the whole mess together with your fork until well blended. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

While the cake is in the oven, you can work on...

The Custard:

Custard without eggs can be problematic. I recommend Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix for Custard Style Pudding, described in BlueDragon's writeup under custard. It is made by Kraft, and has become widely available in the United States in the last few years. Use two and a half cups of milk instead of the two cups called for in the recipe on the back of the package: a thinner custard will soak into the cake better.

If you can't find Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix for Custard Style Pudding, I'm not sure what to recommend and I am very sorry. You might be able to substitute some sort of vanilla pudding, but it just won't be the same.

Putting It All Together

While the cake and custard are cooling, assemble the rest of your ingredients. You'll need:

When the cake is cool enough, cut it into pieces about the length and width of your fingers. Use some of the pieces to line the bottom of a deep bowl, or maybe a dish for baking casseroles. Heat the jam in a small pan on the stove, or in a small bowl in the microwave, and spread half of it over the cake layer. Pour half of the custard over the jam-covered cake, and sprinkle the whole mess with raspberries. Repeat. Chill it for a couple of hours in the refrigerator, and serve with whipped cream. Not exactly traditional, but my in-laws didn't seem to care.

I think the cake recipe originally came from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook, which I highly recommend.

Tri"fle (?), n. [OE. trifle, trufle, OF. trufle mockery, raillery, trifle, probably the same word as F. truffe truffle, the word being applied to any small or worthless object. See Truffle.]


A thing of very little value or importance; a paltry, or trivial, affair.

With such poor trifles playing. Drayton.

Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmation strong As proofs of holy writ. Shak.

Small sands the mountain, moments make year, And frifles life. Young.


A dish composed of sweetmeats, fruits, cake, wine, etc., with syllabub poured over it.


© Webster 1913.

Tri"fle, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Trifled (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Trifling (?).] [OE. trifelen, truflen. See Trifle, n.]

To act or talk without seriousness, gravity, weight, or dignity; to act or talk with levity; to indulge in light or trivial amusements.

They trifle, and they beat the air about nothing which toucheth us. Hooker.

To trifle with, to play the fool with; to treat without respect or seriousness; to mock; as, to trifle with one's feelings, or with sacred things.


© Webster 1913.

Tri"fle, v. t.


To make of no importance; to treat as a trifle.




To spend in vanity; to fritter away; to waste; as, to trifle away money.

"We trifle time."



© Webster 1913.

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