Believe it or not, I didn’t start making trifle until the early 2000s. I started baking in my teens -around the same time I met my British-by-blood husband (then boyfriend). You would think these two things had made me an expert trifle maker for the last two-plus-decades. Strangely, it just didn’t occur to me to include this traditionally British dessert in my repertoire. I didn’t come across the necessity to make trifle at work until 2001, when the family for whom I worked as a private chef started requesting it. This family wasn’t even remotely British, and they were doing a better job getting trifle into their lives than I was. I worked for this family until 2003, then mysteriously stopped making trifle again…until about a year ago. Why did I go so long without regular contact with this brilliant combination of sponge cake, fruit, custard sauce, and whipped cream? How could I have let my husband and daughter down for so many years? How did I not choose this as my go-to dessert for summer get-togethers? I have no answer for you. All I can do is make up for lost time and make it right with my family and friends. This post is my rectification.
This summer, I was charged with planning a surprise fiftieth birthday party for a friend. I was in constant clandestine communication (how’s that for some mean alliteration?) with her husband, getting info on her favorite foods.This was a potluck, so I didn’t have to make all the food (Although, I did make a lot of stuff. I believe I got a little carried away. Shocking, right?). Her husband told me one of her favorite desserts is trifle.
Before I knew anything else, I knew I was going to meet again with this sweet treat. We were expecting upwards of 30 people, so it had to be big. This was a milestone celebration, so it had to be spectacular. I was the one making it, so it had to be all from-scratch, and I had to pull out all the stops. I didn’t have a recipe for the trifle itself, but a recipe isn’t really needed as long as you have a great cake recipe and a phenomenal creme anglaise recipe, and you know how to make a mean chantilly cream. Don’t know how to do these things? Never fear…help is here!
(Note: a true trifle calls for sponge cake – genoise – but I just made my trusty vanilla bean cake recipe and all was well. It’s up to you how authentic you want to be. Just to cover all bases, I’ll post my sponge recipe soon…promise!)
My trifle “recipe” is sort of a Frankenstein’s monster combo of all of the above recipes with instructions on how to layer everything with fruit, etc. Read on and enjoy!