Classic trifle

Jenny Linford's classic English dessert is a delightful dish with which to round off a meal and is wonderfully simple to prepare
Classic trifle
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus chilling
  • Effort: easy


  • 6 tbsp custard powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 600 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 trifle sponges
  • 4-6 tbsp sherry, or sweet dessert wine
  • 250 g raspberries, (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 bananas
  • 284 ml carton of double cream
  • 3-4 tbsp dry-roasted blanched flaked almonds, for decoration

Tips and Suggestions

Feel free to experiment and develop your favourite combination. For an extra fruity flavour, soaking the sponge in jelly makes a scrumptious variation.

If time is in short supply, pick up a carton of ready-made custard instead of making your own and waiting for it to cool.

If you've got leftover sponge cake handy - use it instead of trifle sponges. Jam-filled Swiss roll also goes down a treat.

Vary the fruits to suit the season - mixed summer berries, chopped mixed fruit, there's plenty to choose from.

Toasted flaked nuts make a classic decoration for trifles, but grated chocolate, crystallised rose petals, and extra helpings of fruit are all winners.


1. First prepare the custard; place the custard powder and sugar in a bowl and add just enough of the milk (around 5 tbsp) to mix together to a smooth paste.

2. Heat the remaining milk in a non-stick pan until it reaches just below boiling point. Add the hot milk to the custard powder paste, stirring well as you do so until thoroughly mixed.

3. Return the custard mixture to the pan and gently bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens.

4. Remove the custard from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and allow to cool.

5. Place the trifle sponges in the base of a serving bowl to form an even layer, cutting to shape if necessary.

6. Sprinkle over the sherry and raspberries.

7. Spoon the cooled custard over the sponge, to make a smooth layer.

8. Finely slice the bananas and layer over the custard.

9. Whisk the double cream until softly peaking and spread evenly over the banana.

10. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

11. Just before serving, sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

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