in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Individual English Trifles
2 large angel food cakes
5 packages frozen raspberries (12 oz each)
2 cups raw sugar
2 oranges
2 cups sugar, divided
10 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
10 cups milk
5 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pints whipping cream
fresh raspberries for garnish
* special equipment: 40 clear cups

Set cups on trays. Break angel food into bite size pieces and distribute evenly into cups. Empty raspberry bags into one large bowl. Stir in raw sugar, zest and juice from oranges. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Allow cake to dry out and berries to thaw for an hour or two. When berries are thawed and have become syrupy, push down each cup of cake to compress slightly. Then spoon about 1/4 cup of fruit over each cake portion.
Make custard layer by combining 1 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large pot. Stir in milk and heat over medium high heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and slowly whisk 2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs. Then transfer back into pot, stirring rapidly while pouring. Cook and stir until custard returns to a boil. Cook one more minute. Remove from heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons vanilla. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes then pour 1/3 cup custard over each trifle, covering the raspberries. Cover trays with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Then whip in remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Remove trays from fridge and top each with 2 or 3 tablespoons whipped cream. Return to fridge for several hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh raspberries to serve.

Hints: Obviously this recipe can be reduced and made in a standard trifle bowl. Be sure to use enough fruit to soften the cake. The custard takes 1 tablespoon cornstarch per cup of milk and 1 egg for every two cups. Trifle actually gets better the next day so make ahead if possible. You can make the angel cakes or buy them. Be sure to get large ones, some are not very big. You may need 3 or 4 of the smaller ones. The cups should be 3/4 or more full with the fresh cake pieces and should compact to just about half full before you add the raspberries. The raw sugar in the berries makes a noticeable difference in flavor. The plastic cup size is 9 ounces and they come in packs of 40. It takes 30 to 40 minutes to make the custard and must not be done over high heat or it will scorch on the bottom and ruin the whole batch. Make sure the pot is big enough and stir pretty vigorously with a flat edged wooden spoon that makes good contact with the bottom of the pan. I like to cover the final product on the trays with press and seal wrap over the whole thing, pressing on each cup edge a bit.

My cousin Ruth Hill and her husband Mel lived in England in the 1970's. She introduced me to trifle when we visited them there. This recipe is based on the one she served us the summer of 1972. I have made many variations but this is my favorite. Thanks Ruthie!


  1. My mouth is watering as I read this. I've had your trifle and it's wonderful. Such a pretty dessert.

  2. Hi Megan! My mom sent this address to me and I'm so excited! Can't wait to read and experiment right along with you.

  3. I don't actually think a trifle can be good, not to bang on english food. But I still remember the one friends where Rachel made a typical english trifle with custard and meat and potaotes and bananas with whip cream on top.....Can that be any good??? Seriously, I want to try it when we come, your recipe I mean!