Tenille’s Terrific Trifle

Tenilles terrific trifle in glass bowl

Tenille’s trifles, with her Italian custard recipe, fresh whipped cream, jelly, peaches, and coffee and masala soaked sponge (plus a awholelottalove), is famous within our group of friends.

Tenilles terrific trifle

Especially her motto (taken straight from her instructions) “I like to eat trifle for breakfast, lunch and dinner so keep a spoon handy.”

Tenille, who you’ll remember from our fruit mince pie making disaster adventure, sent me this recipe in August 2011 while I was living in London.

trifle photographed from top with strawberries, cream and chocolate flaked on top

I foolishly forgot the jelly layer when I made it back in August so my photos were ruined. Don’t do that.

So a few weeks ago Tenille, me and my little sister made it again. And here it is.

Her original email was amazingly succinct and I’ve tried to keep it verbatim. You’ll see in brackets where I’ve added in notes, otherwise these are her words.

From the book of Tenille:

So the idea behind the trifle is a layer of sponge soaked in coffee and marsala, followed by a layer of custard, followed by a layer of peaches/fruit of your choosing, followed by a layer of jelly and then repeat until you run out of room in your bowl or ingredients.

The final step is to top it all off with whipped cream and grated chocolate. I also like to decorate the top with fresh strawberries cut in half.

It is a little involved; I will try make it easy to understand. It has many ingredients

Gather all your trifle ingredients, the custard, the jelly and a large bowl. The bowl should be deep enough to take two to three layers of the trifle, maybe a pretty bowl if you are serving to guest, not a mixing bowl though, more like a salad bowl or punch bowl.

Pour your marsala and coffee into little dishes and have a teaspoon next to you.

all ingredients on the bench

Cut your sponge into half inch slices.

Sponge being cut into half inch slices with black cat on bench

(Note from Aimee: meet Quality-Control-Cat, who likes to make sure all food is OK, aka Tenille’s cat Burrito. She found him trapped in a wall in her work. Which I believe is where the best Quality-Control-Cat’s are found. He’s also about to be kicked off the bench.)

Take a knife and slice up your jelly into little half inch cubes. This makes it easier to spread on as a layer.

Jelly cut up into half inch cubes

Drain your peaches.

Place one layer of sponge at the bottom of your chosen bowl.

First sponge layer in bottom of glass bowl

Spread a teaspoon or two of coffee and a teaspoon or two of marsala on each piece of sponge. So they are covered and moist but not soaking.

Then add a layer of custard. Make it thick enough to cover the sponge well. I like lots of custard :)

Topping sponge with coffee and masala and adding custard

Place some peach slices on top of the custard. You don’t have to cover the custard entirely with peaches. Just place them around evenly.

First fruit layer being added

Take your cut up jelly and spread a layer of jelly on top. Remember not to use all your custard and jelly at once. You should be able to get about three layers out of a large quantity. But this depends on the size of the bowl you are using.

Adding first jelly layer

Repeat until all gone.

bench with half finished bowls everywhere

Don’t forget to put your marsala and coffee on each layer of sponge, if you forget it will be dry. So once again…

Sponge with coffee and masala:

next spongle layer being added and topped with coffee and masala

Custard:

nex custar layer being added

(note from Aimee: I like Tenille’s jumper, don’t you?)

Fruit:

next fruit layer being added

Jelly:

Next jelly layer being added

And then for a third time again, depending on the size of your bowl.

Ta da! Put in fridge as is until ready to serve.

Trifle from side, showing layers

Finally the last step is to whip the whipping cream and place a layer on the top of the trifle.

Two girls topping finished trifle with cream and strawberries

(note from Aimee: has anyone else noticed a strong outsourcing theme on my blog where my family and friends appear to be doing all the cooking? Mwhaha.)

(And remember Quality-Control-Cat is watching you)

cat in background and finished trifle

P.S. this is not a weight watches recipe but one year when I was on a diet my aunty cooked me a low fat trifle so I suppose you could always try use low fat milk, low fat cream, and not as much sugar in the custard. Not sure if this could be gluten free, the problems include the sponge roll and the custard powder so you would need specialised versions.

Ingredients for trifle
Jam sponge roll (I usually use 2 cake rolls to make a large trifle)
2 packets of raspberry jelly (but you can use any jelly you like)
A large tin of sliced peaches (about 600g) (also like the jelly you can choose to change your fruit around, eg. use chocolate jam sponge roll, port jelly and cherries – makes it a black forest trifle)
A carton a whipping cream (300ml)
2 Flake chocolates (or any chocolate to grate on the top)
About 50ml of marsala (or similar alcohol)
A cup of strong italian coffee or a strong long black

Ingredients for custard:
This recipe is for an Italian patisserie custard, I suppose you could always make a simple custard but to me this is the best bit. It usually makes enough custard for a large trifle, you could try halving it to make a smaller trifle.

(note from Aimee: you want to try this version. So much better than normal custard.)

½ cup of custard powder (I like to use the nurses custard powder but any good quality one will do)
½ cup of corn flour
½ a cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
30 grams of butter
300ml of thickened cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or essence (you can use a vanilla pod if you want to be extra smancy)
4 cups full cream milk
Zest of one grated lemon

Method

  • It is best to get your jelly on to set and then start your custard. I like to set the jelly the night before and give the custard plenty of time to cool after cooking.
  • You can’t assemble your trifle if the custard is still hot as it will melt your jelly and turn it into a watery mess. If you do the jelly the night before you may as well do the custard the night before also. Or do it first thing on the morning you plan to make the trifle and assemble it at the end of the day.
  • Follow the instructions on the jelly packet for setting. I usually set my two jellies together in one bowl but if you want it to set faster separate them into two bowls. Also if you are planning on halving this recipe still use two jellies. I always find I need more. Once you have made up the jelly, put it in the fridge to set and move onto the custard.

Cooking the custard

  1. Take a large, microwave proof bowl (I like to use a glass bowl) and place all the custard ingredients in it together. You don’t have to bother about melting the butter, it will melt in the cooking process.
  2. Take a whisk and whisk together all the ingredients until they are well mixed. At this stage the custard will look runny, it will have chunks of butter in it and it will have lemon zest floating in it. It doesn’t look pretty at all but that is how it should look. As long as the custard powder and corn flour are well mixed it will be fine.
  3. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 1 minute at a time on a normal setting. After each minute you need to take the bowl out of the microwave and stir with the whisk. (I know this sounds involved but it is absolutely necessary to do this. Otherwise you run the risk of over cooking your custard and turning it lumpy).
  4. If you don’t have a microwave do it on the stove top in a saucepan but keep it on a low heat and stir continuously with the whisk.
  5. After the first few minutes of cooking and stirring nothing seems different, but then slowly the custard will start to thicken, It usually does this around the outside of the bowl first which is why its important to get the custard out of the microwave and whisk every minute.
  6. Each time you stir make sure you mix all the lumps and thickening custard back into a smooth consistency. Then put it back into the microwave for another minute.
  7. Because microwaves all differ in strength and people may choose to cook different quantities, I can’t say how many minutes to cook the custard for. You need to go by consistency (hard I know for the first attempt) however once your custard all comes together in a smooth thick molasses like consistency then stop.
  8. If it seems too runny for a trifle you can try 1 more minute but remember it will continue to cook as it cools and once left in the fridge it will set firmer. The same goes for if you cook it on the stove top. I have cooked this sooo many times and each time I assess via consistency, however I would say for a full quantity of custard it should approx 10 x 1 minute cooking session in the microwave.
  9. Once ready cover the custard with cling wrap. Push the cling wrap right down on top of the custard so it doesn’t get a skin. Let it rest on the bench for 10 minutes then put it in the fridge.

Assembling the trifle

  1. Gather all your trifle ingredients, the custard, the jelly and a large bowl. The bowl should be deep enough to take two to three layers of the trifle, maybe a pretty bowl if you are serving to guest, not a mixing bowl though, more like a salad bowl or punch bowl.
  2. Pour your marsala and coffee into little dishes and have a teaspoon next to you.
  3. Cut your sponge into half inch slices.
  4. Take a knife and slice up your jelly into little half inch cubes. This makes it easier to spread on as a layer.
  5. Drain your peaches.
  6. Place 1 layer of sponge at the bottom of your chosen bowl.
  7. Spread a teaspoon or two of coffee and a teaspoon or two of marsala on each piece of sponge. So they are covered and moist but not soaking.
  8. Then add a layer of custard. Make it thick enough to cover the sponge well. I like lots of custard :)
  9. Place some peach slices on top of the custard. You don’t have to cover the custard entirely with peaches. Just place them around evenly.
  10. Take your cut up jelly and spread a layer of jelly.
  11. Remember not to use all your custard and jelly at once. You should be able to get about three layers out of a large quantity. But this depends on the size of the bow you are using. Repeat until all gone. Don’t forget to put your marsala and coffee on each layer of sponge, if you forget it will be dry.
  12. Finally the last step is to whip the whipping cream and place a layer on the top of the trifle.
  13. Grate chocolate over the top and place some fresh strawberries in what ever pattern you would like. Then keep it in the fridge.

Serve and enjoy!

Thank you Tenille x

20 Comments on Tenille’s Terrific Trifle

  1. Geraldine
    16 June 2012 at 2:09 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks sooo good! :)

    Reply
  2. myhealthyohana
    17 June 2012 at 1:40 am (2 years ago)

    I love trifles, this one looks amazing!!

    Reply
  3. Amy
    17 June 2012 at 6:25 am (2 years ago)

    This sounds amazing, Aimee! I don’t know where to find a jellyroll like that though. I’m not sure if they’re as accessible in America :(

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with a counter-jumping cat. I wouldn’t get as upset with her if I knew she was only supervising me! Thanks for letting me know ;)

    Reply
    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      17 June 2012 at 12:30 pm (2 years ago)

      By jellyroll do you mean sponge? When I made it while in the UK I just bought everyday sponge from the supermarket and put the jelly in the middle myself?

      And yea, trust the cat, they know best :)

      Reply
      • Amy
        18 June 2012 at 10:36 am (2 years ago)

        I mean what you call the “Jam sponge roll.” Ah, putting the jelly in a sponge cake is a good idea…although I don’t think they sell sponge cakes all that often here either. I’ll have to take a look!

  4. frugalfeeding
    17 June 2012 at 6:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Now, Aimee, THAT is a trifle… blimey. I wonder what to calorie count is :D

    Reply
      • frugalfeeding
        17 June 2012 at 7:22 pm (2 years ago)

        Probably for the best…

  5. mypenandme
    17 June 2012 at 11:24 pm (2 years ago)

    I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award. :-) Best regards, – Mary Ann

    Reply
    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      17 June 2012 at 11:59 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh, thank you!! That’s made my day. I’ll hop across and have a look.

      Reply
  6. Just A Smidgen
    18 June 2012 at 7:39 am (2 years ago)

    Such a luscious dessert.. I love the way it’s got a little bit of everything in one bowl!!! xo Smidge

    Reply
  7. Courtney
    19 June 2012 at 3:02 am (2 years ago)

    It sounds really good – I just wish WP would let me see all your pictures! I’ve always wanted to try trifle… ever since that episode of Friends. ;)

    Reply
  8. IceCream
    21 June 2012 at 8:08 pm (2 years ago)

    I also made this trifle, but when it was ready to serve, I had a problem, how to get it out from the bowl. And after on the plate it looked like quite messy, not it nice layers. OK, it was an experiment just for family, but as the taste was great, I am thinking about making it for some party, too. So, it would be nice if you could explain how to get a “presentation” look.
    Tnx!

    Reply
    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      22 June 2012 at 12:09 am (2 years ago)

      I’m happy you liked it!

      Hmmm… Personally I’m a fan of grabbing a spoon and eating it straight out of the bowl!!

      Personally I think the presentation is in the large glass bowl, just serve it up using a large ladle so each serve gets atleast one type of each layer, and enjoy. Don’t over think it.

      Your other option is to make mini-triffles for each person in tall glasses. I’ve done that before and it looks very speccy :)

      Reply
  9. Geni - Sweet and Crumby
    22 June 2012 at 6:35 am (2 years ago)

    I would like to outsource my cooking as well. Do you think I should put an ad on Craig’s List? This trifle looks amazing! Tenille’s instructions are simple and to the point. Around here I am not sure you can buy sponge rolls though.

    Reply
  10. Pachecopatty
    24 June 2012 at 11:30 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Aimee! This is one luscious bowl of dessert trifle! The presentation is killer, what a fun dessert to serve for a party;-)

    Reply

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