Daring Trifles - Simply Good Food - recipe variations on a classic

By Caroline Young

Is a trifle a Christmas tradition in your house? Do you remember the version made with slices of Swiss roll and canned fruit cocktail set in stiff fruit jelly topped with Birds custard and, hopefully, whipped cream?

If you were lucky there might have been a generous sprinkling of sweet sherry over the sponge slices! Happily recipes have moved on and you can develop your own favourite combination of fruit, cake or biscuits and a rich creamy topping.

Traditionally the dessert should be made in a straight sided glass dish to show off the different layers. Here are some of my ideas – the quantities depend on how many people to be served – any left-overs are delicious for breakfast the next day! Have a peaceful Christmas.

Apricot and Almond

Layer small cubes of Madeira cake in the bowl with drained canned apricots and generously moisten with the fruit juice or alcohol of your choice. Gently combine a good chilled custard with the same quantity of whipped cream and spoon over the top. Cover and chill overnight. Top with a generous sprinkling of toasted flaked almonds.

Ginger and Pineapple

Combine roughly crushed ginger nut biscuits and diced canned pineapple in your bowl. Moisten with fruit juice or ginger wine. Top with a layer of good quality chilled custard, cover and chill overnight. Spoon whipped cream over the top and decorate with crystallised pineapple or chopped candied stem ginger.