1. Food
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Traditional British Sherry Trifle Recipe

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)



English Trifle

Rob White - Getty

Trifle is the quintessential pudding that has graced British tables for more than four centuries. It is simply, the quintessential British pudding, striking in it blousy looks,  decadent, rich and simply luscious.

Some will boast jelly, some not; fruit is a must-have for some, for others, no way. Essentially a trifle needs sponge soaked (if for adults) in sherry, a thick layer of creamy custard and deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream; the rest is all about personal preference. 

Some trifle recipes are quick - made using ready-made packs which simply require assembling - these are OK but do not come close to the flavour of a homemade one.

You can speed up the time taken to make a trifle by using ready made custard, this has become quite acceptable, or, or if you have the tie and the inclination then make your own.

My favourite trifle is made with jelly as it is even more appealing to children though do leave out the sherry if it is for kids. If you prefer a trifle without jelly, simply omit and proceed without, this will be quicker to make as it will not require setting in the fridge.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 160g/ 6 oz Madeira, sponge or pound cake, halved and cut into thick slices
  • Or
  • 1 160g packet trifle sponges, or sponge fingers
  • 3 tbsp sweet sherry
  • 1 x 135g block jelly made up to one pint ***** (see note below)
  • 300g/10 oz fresh strawberries or raspberries, or defrosted frozen ones plus a few extra for decoration.
  • 500ml/ 2 cups thick home made custard following this recipe or,
  • 1 500 ml packet ready made custard.
  • 500ml/ 2 cups double or whipping cream, softly whipped
  • Handful flaked almonds, toasted (optional)


Serves 6
The trifle can be made in one large glass dish or into individual glasses
  • Line the bottom of the dish or glasses with the cake slices or trifle sponges.Sprinkle with the sherry and leave to soak for 5 minutes.
  • If using fresh strawberries, slice thickly (reserve a few for decoration), if using previously frozen leave whole. Otherwise, lay the fruit evenly over the cake. Press lightly with a fork to release the juices.
  • Pour over the liquid jelly making sure it covers the sponge. Place the dish into the refrigerator and leave until the jelly is set.
  • Once set, spoon over the custard, again in a thick layer.
  • Finally, finish with a thick layer of whipped cream either spooned over or piped using a piping bag.
  • Decorate with strawberry slices or raspberries and toasted, flaked, almonds if using.

    Omit the sherry if serving to children.
**** Notes on the Jelly: Jelly in the UK is Jello. The jelly can be bought in tablet form and made up following the packet instructions. A 135g slab will make 570 ml/1 pint of liquid jelly. Place the jelly slab into in a microwavable jug, cover with 100 ml cold water and heat for 1 minute (in a 750 watt microwave). Stir well and make up to 570 ml /1 pint with cold water and use in the recipe as above.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Authentic English Trifle, Member JeanAshton

This is the first recipe for English Trifle that is authentic. This is the real thing if you want to start with the best. I've seen other recipes that fall short of the intent of this beautifully mastered recipe. An Enlish gal, name Olive, who worked for my mother, and who made the best french toast I have ever eatten, also made this recipe for me once. There is nothing like ENGLISH Trifle. Well done! And, thanks, as I've been looking everywhere for this recipe. I made it all from scratch. Those using box mixes from the store will not know how this should really taste. If you're going to make it, make it all from scratch, otherwise you're cheating your guests from a real experienc!

49 out of 52 people found this helpful.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.