Back during the first Lockdown of 2020 when we were stuck at home alone I discovered a couple of packets of out of date jellies in the cupboard. I’d made Trifle before sporadically but this discovery unleashed a spell of creativity and one that gave me a reputation, entertained and was generally rather tasty!
I started with a few fairly traditional flavours and gave me some nice desserts and then gradually I started to experiment with all sorts of different flavours. Some of these flavours worked some definitely didn’t. I can’t quite remember how many Trifles I made during 2020 / 21 but it must have been pushing 50+.
Once we were allowed to mix with more people, others could start sampling my experiments and it wasn’t just me getting fat!
I remember making 3 large Trifles at our Craft Coffee retreat at Clayhill Arts, rather too much in hindsight haha! They were three of the tried and trusted and included a Black Forest, White Chocolate and Blackcurrant and a Lemon Trifle.
This Trifle reputation has been amusing and has been the topic of many a conversation since. What I enjoyed about making Trifles is that they are a playful dessert and you can have fun with them and try out different things easily. There’s only minor amounts of actual cooking involved unless you decide to make everything by scratch.
My Trifles were never very pretty but they were rather tasty, well most of them. There were a few failures but from those you learn and either tried again or moved on to something else. I looked for inspiration from other desserts and just found ways of Trifling it up.
Another Trifle I’ve made a couple of times now at Retreats I’ve run with Hayley Banks is the Sticky Toffee Pudding Trifle. Well we were in the Lake District so it had to be done. I took a Cartmel’s Sticky Toffee Pudding, scraped the toffee off and added to the custard. Set the pudding in orange jelly with a glug of Kings Ginger liqueur which someone had brought. It was damn good and a much lighter way of having sticky toffee pudding!
At the height of all this Trifly nonsense I commissioned my good friend Lucy Baxendale to create some Illustrations with the intention of writing a book. That never happened, the world opened up and we all got busy but I do love my Trifle King pic!
The one thing I’ll take away from my Trifle craziness is that it was a great opportunity to play. We had time to play then too and boy did I need it living on my own in that isolating time. We should all play more as creatives as it brings out new ideas and is good for the soul.
As it’s Christmas I’ll leave you with this recipe, one I’ve made the last few years now and it’s for a Christmas Pudding Trifle. You can alter this to be either gluten and or dairy free and or vegan by swapping out the offending ingredients. It's a good way of either using up Christmas Pudding or having it in a different lighter way. My mum makes a rather good Brandy fuelled Christmas Pudding so that’s going in mine!
Christmas Pudding Trifle
1 packet of Orange Jelly
Glug of Brandy
Tub Posh Custard
Tub Whipping Cream
Get out your finest glass dessert bowl. Chop up the Christmas Pudding into small pieces lining the base of the bowl. Glug over a bit more Brandy, why not! Mix up the Orange Jelly as per instructions. Pour the Jelly over the Christmas pudding. I will probably start to float so you need to poke it down with a spoon to make sure it's all covered. It may also look like an orangy brown mess, don’t worry, it’ll taste good! Leave to cool enough to pop in the fridge to set.
Once you get a good wobble on the Jelly and it's fully set you can add a generous layer of posh custard on top. Then you can whip up some cream first adding a tablespoon of Brandy and one of icing sugar. This will heighten the cream to the next level! Blob that on top of the Custard as neatly as possible, or pipe it on if you can be arsed. And there you have it, a much lighter variation of Christmas Pudding, enjoy!
Until next time, mind how you go 🧡
21 Dec 23