Great Desserts

fawnridgeAugust 21, 2014

Ricky's English Trifle Recipe

This recipe was given to me about 50 years ago by a British nanny named Margaret who lived with us for several years. She claimed the recipe was at least 200 years old! In any case, this is an adult dessert, perfect for parties. I have made Trifle for a party of 50 people! Keep in mind that to do this right you should make the custard from scratch using the recipe below. Store bought custard will work, but there's something about homemade custard that just can't be matched. If you must use store bought, find a tin of Bird's Custard. This method takes 2 full days to prepare.

Homemade Custard:
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups whole milk
8 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream sherry (as a bare minimum!)

2 8" bakers spongecake layers or 2 packages of lady fingers
1 cup cream sherry (once again, the bare minimum)
8 tablespoons raspberry preserves
6 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
1 cup heavy cream - whipped
1/2 cup cherries

First day
Custard preparation: In a heavy saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.
Gradually add milk, stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat,
stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and comes to a boil.
Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. In a bowl, beat egg yolks.
Gradually add a little hot mixture, beating well.
Stir egg mixture into saucepan, cook over medium heat, stirring
constantly until mixture begins to boil.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and 2 tablespoons sherry.
Strain custard immediately into a bowl.
Refrigerate until well-chilled overnight.

Second day
Balance: Split spongecake layers in half crosswise - sprinkle each
layer with sherry. Spread all but top layers with preserves and almonds.
Stack layers, jam side up, spreading each layer with custard.
Top with plain layer then remaining custard.
Decorate with whipped cream and cherries. Refrigerate until serving time.

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This is the finest pumpkin pie recipe I have ever made.
The original recipe (from a 1912 cookbook) used regular pumpkins,
the cheese pumpkins used here have more meat and more real pumpkin
taste! While you may have to do some searching to find cheese
pumpkins, it's worth the effort.
I have also increased the amount of spices and decreased the amount
of milk to yield firmer pies.

2 cups strained and mashed pumpkin
(use cheese pumpkins for the best results, 12" diameter)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg beaten well
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 cups whole milk or 1 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup cream
1 9" diameter deep pie crust per pie

Cut pumpkin in half (12" diameter) place inverted over a cookie sheet
or large bowl. Heat in oven at 325 degrees or microwave on high until
top starts to collapse (skin will turn dark brown) or steam in lobster
pot. Scrape out pulp and strain well.
Allow to dry and cool before using! The drier the pulp the firmer the pie.
A good quality food processor can be used to really mash the pulp into
a smooth mixture otherwise chop and mash the pulp by hand.

Mix syrup, sugar, egg, cinnamon and ginger together.
Slowly add milk and blend well. Add pumpkin mixture and blend well.
While the mixture is blending, sprinkle some cinnamon on the pie crust
and let it bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Fill the pie shell to capacity and then bake at 325 degrees in 9" pie
crust until firm, about 1 hour.
Check to make sure the pie shell does not overcook.
Cool on racks for 1 hour and then refrigerate.
Pumpkin pie is best when refrigerated overnight and served cool.

A regular 12" diameter pumpkin will yield 3 pies, a 12" diameter
cheese pumpkin will yield 2 pies. Serve with fresh whipped cream!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 10:55AM
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This is a delicious recipe for sea salt and thyme chocolate cookies; I never realized how well thyme would blend with sea salt and chocolate!


1 cup unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teasp baking soda
1 teasp coarse salt
2 Tablesp fresh thyme leaves
2 sticks butter, cold and in small cubes
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 Tablesp molasses
2 eggs
5 oz. semisweet chocolate chunks
5 oz. dark chocolate chunks
sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare sheet pans by lining them with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk to combine the bread flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and fresh thyme leaves. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Gradually add the brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses to the butter, beating until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Mix in the dry ingredients and then fold in the chocolate chunks until well-distributed.
  7. Form each cookie using about two tablespoons of dough per cookie. Roll into a ball and place on the prepared pan, pressing down slightly to form a thick disc. Leave 3 inches between each cookie--they will spread. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on each cookie before baking.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the edges of the cookies are just turning brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for two minutes before removing the cookies from the pan and cooling directly on the rack.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 8:57PM
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Not fair! I'm trying to lay off the sweets....... but I'm copying these recipes anyway! They all sound wonderful. It is always nice to have new dessert options to try.

My MIL used to make a torte similar to this one and I loved it. Sadly she lost the recipe. I think this one is just as good. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. I made it for a wedding party and it disappeared quickly.

Raspberry-Almond Torte

You can make and frost this a day ahead--the Whipped Cream Frosting holds perfectly. Add the raspberry and almond garnish just before serving. Makes 16 servings.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
1 recipe Almond Filling (recipe follows)
1 recipe Whipped Cream Frosting (recipe follows)
Sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
Fresh raspberries (optional)

1. Grease and lightly flour two 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans. Set aside.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Beat butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well mixed.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture, beating after each addition (batter may appear curdled). Spread batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden toothpicks inserted in the centers come out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Stir the jam. To assemble, spread one cake layer with one-third of the Almond Filling, then with 2 rounded tablespoons of jam. Repeat layering with the cake layers, Almond Filling, and jam two more times. Top with final cake layer. Spread Whipped Cream Frosting over cake. Cover cake tightly and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
6. To serve, garnish with sliced almonds and fresh raspberries, if desired. Makes 16 servings.
Almond Filling
Crumble one 8-ounce can almond paste in a mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup softened butter or margarine; beat with an electric mixer on low speed. Add 1 tablespoon amaretto or milk and 1 tablespoon milk; beat until smooth.
Whipped Cream Frosting
Combine 1 tablespoon cold water and 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Place cup in a saucepan of boiling water. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until gelatin is completely dissolved. Beat 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed while gradually drizzling gelatin over cream mixture. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Make-Ahead Tip
Up to 12 hours ahead, make, bake, and assemble cake. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:29PM
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