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A generic mix and match guide to making a trifle

tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 11:44 AM

I started making a guide to making a trifle for my own amusement and as I got into it decided to post it. If you want to add anything, please do so. I apologize to the more advanced hounds. I realize that a trifle is pretty simple.

For those of you that don't know what a trifle is, It is a layered dessert usually in a large glass bowl but they can be put in individual size containers. It is usually important to put in a clear glass container to show off the layers. It is sort of like a parfait. I will try to post a picture of one.

I set this up so that someone could mix and match and come up with their own trifle. for the purpose of this exercise, I am only discussing dessert trifles.


A trifle should have a layer or two of a pastry such as:

Pound cake
Lady fingers
Banana bread
Lemon loaf

You could drizzle something on the pastry such as:

Orange Liqueur
Raspberry Liqueur
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Syrup
Fudge Sauce
Caramel Sauce

A trifle should have a layer or two of sweet cream such as:

Pastry cream
Fruit curd
Sweetened Condensed Milk

A trifle should have a layer or two of fruit such as:


Optional such as:

Nuts such as:

Syrup such as:

Jam such as:


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  1. bushwickgirl RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 11:57 AM

    Wow, that's a pretty comphrensive list; shows you the versatility of trifle. I want to mention the possible addition of a Marsala, Amaretto or Drambuie soak, and amaretti cookies. Maybe you were thinking of them when you wrote cookies.

    My ex-MIL, who is Scots, made hers with a layer of Jello, but I'm not recommending that.;-(

    7 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl
      tonka11_99 RE: bushwickgirl May 7, 2010 12:19 PM

      The list really would have been long had I listed all the cookies and I knew someone would chastise me for the skimpy list of liquers. I just sort of got into making the mix and match list. it reminded me of a casserole book I have somewhere. It had a set of lists like that so you could mix and match a casserole.

      I got started doing it because I was trying to add to my computer list of desserts and decided to pull up a list of highly rated trifles on Food network. well, they all looked real familiar so i decided to make a mix and match list.

      Then I decided to post it.

      1. re: tonka11_99
        bushwickgirl RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 12:24 PM

        I was not chastising you, just suggesting...I actually really like mix and match lists. At my age, I can't keep all the possibilities in my head any more, or can't recall them, one or the other.

      2. re: bushwickgirl
        runwestierun RE: bushwickgirl May 7, 2010 12:42 PM

        Ah, ditto my grandmother and the Jello. Jello everything. Lord. This makes me realize that's why I never make trifle--the yucky old Jello way is stuck in my brain. Thanks, tonka, your list makes me want to make it. Wasn't it Gourmet that had such a pretty picture of a jellyroll trifle in the last year or so? I'll see if I can find it.

        Yep, here it is:


        1. re: runwestierun
          tonka11_99 RE: runwestierun May 7, 2010 12:46 PM

          It might be more tolerable if you used jello shots...at least after 3-4 servings.

          1. re: runwestierun
            bushwickgirl RE: runwestierun May 7, 2010 12:53 PM

            That's gorgeous and a very special trifle.

            My aforementioned MIL used jelly roll as a base, it's called Swiss roll in the British isles, with the Jello layer. Nice with the sherry (not the Jello.)

            1. re: bushwickgirl
              tonka11_99 RE: bushwickgirl May 7, 2010 02:17 PM

              Uh huh.... ;-)

            2. re: runwestierun
              tonka11_99 RE: runwestierun May 7, 2010 01:44 PM

              Oh, that is kind of a pretty trifle.

          2. t
            tonka11_99 RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 12:45 PM

            here is a picture like I promised. I just automatically posted rather than look for the picture.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tonka11_99
              bushwickgirl RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 01:52 PM

              Now, that's nice looking too. A big part of the beauty of a trifle is the appearance. Individual servings are fine, but made in a proper trifle bowl makes it very special.

            2. t
              tonka11_99 RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 01:50 PM

              There is at least one more thread on Chow hound regarding trifles.


              1. s
                smartie RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 04:44 PM

                brits do use jelly (jello) in trifle.

                layer of sponge soaked in sherry or masala
                layer of jelly/jello, which is cool but not yet set so it does not bleed into the sponge cake
                layer of fruit - usually canned fruit cocktail and bananas after the jelly has set
                english custard - from a tin, made slightly thicker than the 1 pint recipe so it sets
                layer of whipped cream after the custard has set

                1. chowser RE: tonka11_99 May 7, 2010 05:23 PM

                  Too many possibilities. :-) When I was a girl scout leader and we needed a project that used trefoil cookies, we made a trifle w/ them as the base. I've also heard people moan over brownies and heath bar crunch ones. In my mind, a tiramisu is also a trifle variation. I've also seen them with crushed amaretti.

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