Jan’s Sherry Trifle

This recipe was given to me by my oldest and bestest friend Jan, Thanks Jan and I know that you won’t
mind that I have adapted it slightly!
Ideally, you should begin making your trifle, the day before you want to serve it.


You will need:

  • either a packet of trifle sponges or 1 small, plain sponge cake
  • 2 tbsps of apricot or strawberry jam
  • 1 tall, 400 g can of fruit, strawberries, peaches, pears or a fruit of your choice that will not be too acidic
  • Fruit should be chosen to complement your other ingredients. Pineapple and orange may be too acidic and might not allow the jelly to set.
  • 1 packet of jelly
  • I suggest either strawberry, apricot, or peach
  • 1 small packet or tin of custard powder
  • 1 large, 1 pt, 20 fl.oz, 400 g, carton of double cream
  • 1 pint, 20 fluid ounces, of full cream milk
  • Enough Boiling water to make your jelly up to 1 pt
  • 20 fl.oz.
    2 tbsps or more of sweet sherry
  • this is optional
  • Chocolate nibbles
  • chopped nuts, tiny decorative chocolate bits, candied fruit pieces or tiny, sweet coloured balls
  • Also known as hundreds and thousands
  • These are for decoration


To make the trifle base.
Take a 10 to 12 inch, 28 to 30 cm, decorative deep glass bowl and split your trifle sponges in half from
top to bottom so that they are half their depth, but the same length and width, and arrange them in a single layer in the
base of the dish.
If you are using sponge cake, crumble up enough to give about half an inch depth in the bottom of the bowl.
Gently warm 2 level tbsps of either apricot or strawberry jam in a cup in the microwave or a small
pan on the stove, until it has become slightly runny, then pour this over the
trifle sponges or crumbled cake.
Now is the time to add the alcohol if you wish! How much you
add is entirely up to you!
Sprinkle the tbsps of sweet sherry over the trifle sponges or cake.
Open a can of fruit of your choice to complement the flavour of the jelly that you are going to use.
Drain away the juice, through a sieve into a jug or bowl and save it because you will need this to
make your jelly.
Evenly distribute the fruit over the ingredients in the bowl.

To make the jelly.
Make it according to packet instructions, which means that you will break the jelly into cubes, put them into a large
jug, add the fruit juice that you have saved from your can of fruit, and enough
boiling water to make it up to a pint.
Stir the jelly until the cubes have completely dissolved, then pour it
gently over the fruit in the bowl.
When the jelly has cooled sufficiently, transfer the dish to the fridge to set for
several hours, before carrying on with the recipe.
Here is the part of the trifle that you will ideally complete a few hours before serving.

To make the custard.
Put 2 very heaped tbsps 50 g, or 2 oz, of custard powder and 1 level tbsps 1 oz, 25 g, of
granulated sugar into a jug, or deep bowl.
Measure out a pint, 20 fl.oz, of cold milk and add a little of it to the custard powder and sugar,
stir until you have a smooth paste.
You can either make the custard in the microwave or in a saucepan on your stove.
If you choose the microwave way, pour the rest of the milk into the blended custard powder mixture, stir, then put it into the microwave on full power for 2 to 3 minutes, then
stir again.
Continue cooking on full power, stirring every 30 seconds, until the custard has thickened.
Take it out of the microwave and let it cool slightly.

Pour the hot milk into the blended custard powder, stir well, then pour it back into the saucepan and
heat gently, stirring, with a wooden spoon, until the custard has thickened.
It will bubble slightly and become a bit more difficult to stir as it is thickening.
Remove your custard from the heat and let it cool slightly.

After having made your custard and letting it cool a little, take your partly made trifle from the fridge and pour the custard over the set jelly.
Wait until it has cooled completely, then put the dish back in the fridge to set the custard firmly.

Finishing Touches

For the finishing touches, and to decorate.
Just before you are ready to serve the trifle, pour a large carton of double cream into a
bowl. Using a whisk or electric mixer, whip until it forms soft peaks. Stop
beating every 20 seconds or so and just move the whisk blades or beaters around
in the cream and they should feel slightly resistant when the right point is reached.
The cream will sound deeper and hollow in pitch if you lift the bowl and tap it, this sound is made by the
air that is trapped inside the cream, helping it to hold its shape.

The cream will have doubled in volume too!
To test the density, scoop up a teaspoon of cream and gently shake it over a clean saucer or tea plate, it
should drop from the spoon, holding its shape but it will not feel as firm as your set jelly or custard.
Be very careful not to over beat though, because if you do the cream will separate into
liquid beneath and solid fat on top.

Spoon the whipped cream over the trifle, just before serving and decorate by gently dropping your
chocolate chips, chopped nuts, candied fruit pieces or hundreds and thousands, evenly over the top of the cream.


To serve, spoon your trifle into individual, decorative, glass dishes and save a portion for me!