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Thursday, December 31, 2009


Trifle is ingrained in the spirit of all that is British. Accompanying events, both personal and public, trifle personifies pomp and circumstance, a Mother's love, empathy, flying proudly in the face of adversity. The styles and ingredients can be varied and adapted, to taste and the ingredients at hand; custard, sponge cake, jam, fruit, a splash of sherry and cream are the core. There are trifles with or without jelly (jello) but, for me, they miss the mark. and sophisticated or childishly glee-full; my days are English Sherry Trifle; sometimes with sprinkles on top. There's hard work and planning involved in Trifle; the sponge cake has to have time to be stale, before gluing it together with strawberry jam. Sherry and cognac in just the right measure; it can't get soggy before the jelly layer is added or it won't set with just the right wobble-factor. I like to use fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries but a can of peaches or mandarin orange slices have honored many a trifle in England and done themselves proud. I once forgot a cardinal rule and used pineapple. Oh knowledgeable ones, you can see this coming; I hear you sucking in your breath. Jelly does not set in the presence of pineapple! Indelibly marked on my memory now. I knew this once. How could I be so nonchalant and careless as to forget? I saved the day by freezing my trifle and rushing it to the table at the last minute without giving it time to deconstruct and become a floaty mess. My Lovely Daughter was witness to my almost failure and reminds me whenever I mention the urge to make trifle, as if I would repeat my mistake. I have a friend who makes a white on white trifle; This "Designer Custard" is made to be eaten by stiffly slender, Beautiful People for whom the risk of a blob of dessert on a lapel or decolletage greatly outweighs the possible joy to be found on their spoon. This blanc-mange is restrained and sophisticated; seeking the approval of those who attend modern art shows and feel too intimidated to air an honest opinion that the Emperor's new clothes are but a sham. They are missing out on the flavors, colors and textures of life lived to the full. The individual ingredients of trifle, like life, are best savored with exuberance and freedom from restraint. This colorful dessert is for the young at heart. There is nothing hesitant, questioning or uncertain about my trifle. It conjures brightly painted walls, balloons popping and horses prancing. It is a heraldic fanfare, a cannonball into the deep end, sex with snorting laughter, cartwheels and hugs that hurt. Trifle may be a foreign custom but it needs no translation, it's the little dessert that could! May you all find sprinkles on your trifle in 2010.


  1. Many sprinkles to you too!! We are at this moment minutes into the new year and I wish you a healthy and happy 2010.

  2. Hell, I wish you a backhoe full of sprinkles to be used over, under, around, through, and on your your Trifle of 2010!

    "Wobble-factor." Christ, that reminds me of my thighs right about now;>D

  3. Trifle is definitely not a trifle! It is one of the staples of life. Alas, I do not often get to eat it, but it does seem to be a necessity at most pot luck dinners I attend. Bless the trifle makers.

    Yours looks lucious. I am such a blueberry/raspberry lover!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  4. Ah how right you are, where would we be without the trifle. Many sprinkles to you this New Year, may it be a good one.

  5. whoever coined the phrase "a mere trifle" clearly hasn't eaten one!

  6. Ms. Pliers, Thanks for reaching into your tool box for me.

    Jean, I agree. All those juicy dark fruits popping in your mouth. Free transportation right back to childhood.

    St. Jude, Always ask for more sprinkles. (I don't really like sprinkles but I like the "idea" of sprinkles so on they go). I just now remembered, my Mum used crystalized violets and rose petals.

    iNdi@, I think that's part of the pleasure, pretending it is "only" a trifle. Brain food as well as dessert.

  7. That really looks good. I remember having it once in a very high class restaurant in Anaheim.

  8. @eloh, I'm still never quite sure if you are serious or provoking. High class restaurant in Anaheim sounds like an oxymoron to me. Now you've got me wondering.