This is basically my Great-grandmother's recipe that has been handed down through the family. It gets rave reviews whenever it appears, lures men like a honey pot and infuriates wives who are not in the know. G-GM learned her craft in service in&
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Trifle sponges (bought or homemade) split and spread with raspbery jam. Sandwich together and use to line the base of a decorative glass dish. Scatter crushed ratafias or those little Italian almond macaroons on top.
Pour over a glass (or as much as you need to soak the sponge and ratafias) of sweet sherry - we're a bit down-market and rather like Emva Cream (a Cyprus sherry-type wine) for trifle but any decent-tasting cream sherry will do will do.
Allow to stand until the sponge has absorbed all the wine then drain & chop a large tin of fruit, eg peaches, and spread on top of the sponges with some fresh raspberries. (Reserve the juice from the tin of peaches as you'll need it later).
In the meantime make up a red jelly using boiling water and the juice from the tinned fruit so there is no more than a pint of jelly in total and put it to set until firm.
Make up a pint of (Bird's) custard from powder using whole milk (Channel Islands if available). The powder sort is the thing because the ready-made stuff doesn't set properly. Stir in a large slug of rum to taste. (This trifle is certainly NOT nursery food!) Allow it to cool but not set.
Chop the jelly with a fork and spread over the peaches. Spoon the custard on top and refridgerate the whole until required to let the (don't whip it up or you'll find it won't set on the trifle). On the day of serving whip double cream until thick and spread on top. Chill for two or three hours or more. Decorate as you like. We use glace cherries, silver dragees and slivered almonds at Christmas. Coloured sprinkles/hundreds and thousands don't work as the colour runs rather unappetisingly.
You can adapt it if you prefer. I once made one for a Caribbean evening, minus the ratafias, with McVitie's ginger cake replacing the sponges, soaked in rum instead of sherry, a tin of mangoes, a tropical fruit jelly, rum-spiked custard and the contents of a couple of passion fruits folded into the whipped cream.
You need to start at least a day ahead of serving to allow the various layers to settle and chill before adding the next stage so the trifle remains in definite layers. It doesn't freeze successfully because of the jelly.
Not fashionable these days but very popular and not a bit like that packet abberation that did the rounds for children's parties a few years ago.
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