David's famous trifle recipe

  • Posted on: 24 September 2009
  • By: David Thrale

At Thrale family gatherings you can be sure of one thing, David is asked to make his popular trifle. I'd like to claim the credit for this great recipe, but I really learnt it from my parents - Ken and Shirley - who made it for their occasional dinner parties. The secret is that it contains no jelly. Makes about 10 portions.


Ingredient Metric Imperial
Trifle sponges Packet of 8 Packet of 8
Blackcurrant jam 200g 10 oz
Ripe bananas 4 4
Sherry 75cl 3 fl oz
Sliced almonds 100 g 4 ozs
Custard powder
Milk (for the custard) 450 ml 1 pint
Fresh fruit 450 g 1 lb
Double cream 1 litre 2 pints


Trifle sponges It takes at least 12 hours to prepare a trifle because the first stage must be left to set overnight, before the second stage can be started.

Night before

OK, let's do the cheating bit first! Split the (shop bought) trifles sponges into two. Spread the insides with a very generous helping of blackcurrant jam. Replace the tops to give a jam sandwich effect.

Trifle with first fruit layer

Arrange the jam sponges in the bottom of a large decorative glass bowl (don't spoil it by making in an ugly utility dish). Sprinkle the sponges with sherry.

Trifle with second fruit layer

Peel two bananas, cut in half and slice lengthwise. Arrange the sliced bananas on top of the trifle sponges. Sprinkle generously with sliced almonds and half the fresh fruit.

Trifle with custard layer

Make one-and-a-half pint of thick custard, pour onto the sponge and fruit whilst still hot. Leave to stand at room temperature for at two hours. Then place overnight in the 'fridge.

Next day

Trifle with almond layer

Sprinkle some sliced almonds (saving some for the topping) over the custard. Spread the rest of the fresh fruit over the custard, along with two more sliced bananas. I use different fruits according to the season and my mood. I think that that fruits need to be a little tart to balance the sweetness of the other ingredients. So I use berries, strawberries, blackcurrants, loganberries, raspberries, etc. The only tinned fruit I use, are mandarins. Out of season, berries can be bought frozen. Pick the most expensive packet you can find (the cheap ones are too mushy).

Trifle with unsmoothed double cream layer

Pour the double cream into a food processor or mixer. Add three table spoons of sugar. Beat until stiff - don't over mix. Use a palette knife to spread the cream over the trifle. Apply evenly. Smooth the surface as best you can (I use a circular motion). Wipe away surplus from the edge of the dish. Decorate the to of the trifle. I mostly use any fruit leftover, arranging in alternate rings of sliced almonds. Sometime I use a little crumbed chocolate on the top as well.

Finished trifle