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Trifle: Tips, Techniques, Recipes


La Niña
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Here is a trifle I litterally threw together in 15 minutes( it kinda looks that way too, although it was really tasty).

gallery_25969_665_217577.jpg

I used a store bought chocolate loaf cake( Farmer's Market Brand for the Canadians), I made 3x a batch of chocolate pudding. A really easy recipe from Epicurous that you can find here.

I layered it with kahlua and fresh strawberries( I would have prefered to use raspberries, but the hosts requested strawberries). I whipped real cream for the top. When I cook for the seniors, I dont mind using cool whip, but when I'm bringing a dessert to a party, I want to use real cream. Believe me, these people probably wouldnt have noticed a difference either.

They served us pasta with Classico brand alfredo sauce and parmesean cheese( in a can) that expired in 2004.

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Is there a different concept of 'trifle' in the US to the UK?

The reason I'm asking is that you haven't mentioned jello (jelly) as a composite ingredient to your trifles.

A cheap and cheerful easy to assemble classic English trifle served to gatherings of non-demanding diners would consist of layers of:

Sponge - either slices of fresh sponge, like your pound cake, or dried biscuits/cookies (such as ratafia/amaretti) also called 'trifle biscuits' which become moist once the other ingredients are added.

The sponge layer is often doused with some alcohol/liqueur (rum, framboise etc..)

Jelly & fruit - Jello is made up with hot water, fruit is added, this is then poured over the sponge layer and allowed to cool and set.  All kinds of flavoured jello can be used and the choice of fruit is pretty much limitless - strawberry jello with canned mandarin segments or canned 'fruit cocktail', Pineapple jello with slices of pineapple & mango, lime jello with canned grapes and slices of kiwi fruit, raspberry jello with canned peach slices, orange jello with stewed rhubarb (a ginger liqueur over the base of this one would be good)... seriously, combinations are limitless 

Custard - Any commercial custard can be used.  Tinned powdered custard which is mixed with hot water is very popular in England.  It's simplicity to make and very cheap, especially in large quantities.  Once made (make it as thick as you can), allow it to cool before pouring it over the set jello layer. 

Whipped cream (or Cool Whip if preferred) - With all that custard, you won't need to have that much cream, so hopefully, you won't need to resort to Cool Whip. 

Extra fruit and toppings - do what you like at this point - slices of fresh bananas, strawberries, grated orange zest, chocolate, sprinkles, and then there's the option of adding sauce - raspberry, chocolate, fudge, etc...

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I'm sure once you work out which jellos and fruit are available to you throughout the seasons and you start being creative with combinations, you'll come up with a different possibility for every week of the year to suit your budget.

I've never had a trifle in the US or Canada that had jello as a component. We just went to an English pub last week and I had the trifle. It was served in a larger wine glass and it had the sponge, liquor, custard and fruit cocktail. Pretty shabby for $7.29. The owner is English and there was no jello to be found.

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I've never had a trifle in the US or Canada that had jello as a component.  We just went to an English pub last week and I had the trifle.  It was served in a larger wine glass and it had the sponge, liquor, custard and fruit cocktail.  Pretty shabby for $7.29.  The owner is English and there was no jello to be found.

I can assure you that jelly in trifles is very, very common. In fact, my husband (who came to England as a 10 year old and who's accent is indistinguishable from that of a Brit) didn't know that trifle can be served without jelly.

Non-jelly trifle is more traditional, but jelly trifle has nowadays become the default, the contemporary 'classic'.

I said "A cheap and cheerful easy to assemble classic English trifle served to gatherings of non-demanding diners would consist of layers of:"

and I stand by this. Trifle connoisseurs and purists may reject jelly in this dessert, but that doesn't change the fact that the overwhelming majority of trifles made and served in the UK include jello.

I assume that the pub owner either prefers this style of trifle (which I recognise as being the more traditional kind) or, equally likely, has reverted to it to better serve the tastes and expectations of the local clientele.

----

Here's is a link for a rhubarb trifle - with jelly - from Delia Smith, the British 'grande dame' of cookery. In it she mentions that jelly trifles are the kind she enjoyed as a child

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/old-fas...le,1382,RC.html

And a link to a BBC recipe that states that jelly was already being added in Victorian times

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A663455 (If you scroll down to the 'quick version' it's pretty much exactly as I've described)

The point of my post is not to quibble about the rights or wrongs of jello (or cool whipp) in trifle, but to convey economical and easy to prepare alternatives that can satisfy judiu's request for ideas and be acceptable to the association's undemanding members.

Edited by MoGa (log)
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I can assure you that jelly in trifles is very, very common. In fact, my husband (who came to England as a 10 year old and who's accent is indistinguishable from that of a Brit) didn't know that trifle can be served without jelly.

got to have jelly...

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Jelly and Jell-o are not the same in the US.

Jell-o is a wretched gelatin-based dessert, filled with artificial flavors and colors of all sorts, and sugar, of course.

Jelly is usually a pectin-thickened--though I suppose that it could be gelatin-thickened--sugary fruit spread that is flavored and colored with fruit and its juice, but that has no chunks of fruit as does jam or preserves.

Though jelly is no culinary triumph, in my opinion, it certainly is much better than Jell-o, and it can be had cheaply. Better would be some jam or preserves, I would think, and though they would be more expensive than Jell-o, they certainly wouldn't break the bank, and you could use less of them since they would be far more flavorful.

Also, I don't buy the idea that Cool-Whip is cheaper than whipped cream, or if it is, not by much. You can buy a quart of cream for a relatively low price, and the added sugar is obviously quite inexpensive. Whipping the cream to the right consistency is easy and quick, and certainly tastes 100 times better than Cool-Whip.

Just my 2 cents.

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Wow! Thanks to everyone for the great ideas. I've never thought to use jell-o or jelly in my trifles, I usually go with wine soaked fruit with some added sugar (I buy the fruit fresh, or use unsweetened frozen berries). I was thinking about a pumpkin "not pie" sort of a thing for the holidays. A layer of graham crackers, scrunched up, just touched with a little sea salt (to mimic the slight bit of salt in a pie crust), pumpkin pie filling with some grated orange peel and ginger added, and then whipped cream (or Cool Whip) on top. I don't know what kind of liquer or wine would work with this, though; port is too rich and red, sherry is not quite bold enough, maybe Frangelico? Any thought?

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Also, I don't buy the idea that Cool-Whip is cheaper than whipped cream, or if it is, not by much. You can buy a quart of cream for a relatively low price, and the added sugar is obviously quite inexpensive. Whipping the cream to the right consistency is easy and quick, and certainly tastes 100 times better than Cool-Whip.

Not to get too much off topic, but as I said upthread, I serve my seniors coolwhip( unless the whipped cream would be the star of the dessert) because 1L( 1US quart) of heavy whipping cream is $6.09. Dairy products are expensive in Canada.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Jelly and Jell-o are not the same in the US. 

I used Jelly in the English sense where it does mean Jell-o.

For me, they are basically the same, where I'd say jelly you might say jell-o, where I'd say tomahto, you might say tomaito.

Where you might say jelly I would say jam.

If the diners this thread is aimed at cannot distinguish whipped cream from cool whip, I doubt they will be turning their noses up at Jelly(UK)/Jell-o(US).

Sometimes British trifles are made with jelly and jam.

The same sentence in American English:

Sometimes British trifles are made with jell-o and jelly.

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Jelly and Jell-o are not the same in the US. 

Jell-o is a wretched gelatin-based dessert, filled with artificial flavors and colors of all sorts, and sugar, of course. 

Jelly is usually a pectin-thickened--though I suppose that it could be gelatin-thickened--sugary fruit spread that is flavored and colored with fruit and its juice, but that has no chunks of fruit as does jam or preserves. 

Though jelly is no culinary triumph, in my opinion, it certainly is much better than Jell-o, and it can be had cheaply.  Better would be some jam or preserves, I would think, and though they would be more expensive than Jell-o, they certainly wouldn't break the bank, and you could use less of them since they would be far more flavorful.

Also, I don't buy the idea that Cool-Whip is cheaper than whipped cream, or if it is, not by much.  You can buy a quart of cream for a relatively low price, and the added sugar is obviously quite inexpensive.  Whipping the cream to the right consistency is easy and quick, and certainly tastes 100 times better than Cool-Whip.

Just my 2 cents.

normally an Oz trifle has a layer of jelly (jello) over stale cake smeared with jam (jelly!)

I guess you missed my post...we do recognise that there is a semantic difference and that some trifles contain both jello and jelly in the UK and Oz, just maybe not in the States

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I don't know what kind of liquer or wine would work with this, though; port is too rich and red, sherry is not quite bold enough, maybe Frangelico? Any thought?

Rum, cognac, calvados all come to my mind.

Cheers,

Anne

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I've had fabulous rave reviews for the Cranberry Grand Marnier Trifle I found in The Gourmet Cook Book.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/104434

I make it from scratch per the recipe when I make it for holidays. I've faked it for other things with bottled cranberry orange jelly and pound cake.

My Brit ex-husband lives for when I amke it at holidays. He says the secret to trifle is alcohol, alcohol, and more alcohol. :wink:

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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How about an St Clements trifle? (Orange & Lemon)

Sponge sandwiched with either Orange Marmalade or Lemon Curd, sprinkled with orange liqueur or lemoncello.

For the fruit you could use tinned mandarins or fresh orange segments, then topped with a lemon flavoured custard. Finally plain whipped cream, topped with almonds or crystalised oranges/lemons.

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  • 1 year later...

'Tis the season...last year I made a sickly-but-delicious trifle with pound cake soaked in Malibu rum, set with strawberry Jello, and covered with home-made vanilla custard, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Anyone trying something slightly more sophisticated this year?

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