A trifle more

Since I mentioned trifle the other day, I’ve been thinking about how varied this dessert is, from the most simple of sponge, jelly, custard, cream to the exotic with marscapone, liqueurs, candied fruit, expensive ingredients…

Apparently trifles have been around for nearly six hundred years, but initially they lacked the sponge and were creamy fruity dishes, latterly jellified with gelatin – maybe with those early desserts sponge fingers or something similar were served with them and then the two were put together into one delciousness!!

Dear Eliza Acton, has the right idea with her trifle recipes, her idea ‘was to soak a light sponge or Savoy cake in as much good French brandy as it could absorb’. The rest was simple – stick it full of slivers of whole almonds and pour over a rich custard – damn the jam! She didn’t actually say about the jam, that was me! She also, on the same page has a dessert which sounds wonderful – macarons ‘fastened together’ with a little melted barley sugar, fashioned into a basket shape over a mould and when cool and set, filled and piled high with strawberry cream and ‘stick fine ripe strawberries over it’.

ninety or so years after Eliza’s book was published, the anonymous author of Modern Practical Cookery has a recipe for ginger trifle – well, ginger is one of my favourite flavours… The trifle involves Casino biscuits but I can’t find out what they are, maybe some sort of ginger biscuit?

  • 5 or 6 Casino biscuits
  • ⅓ – ½ jar of preserved ginger or glacé or crystallised ginger (I guess you could even have a mixture!)
  • ginger wine
  • ¾ pint milk
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk, beaten
  • sugar
  • cream
  1. arrange the biscuits in the serving dish and add the ginger wine (if you don’t want alcohol, use the syrup from the preserved ginger)
  2. add the ginger, cutting up if necessary
  3. make a custard in a double boiler/bain marie with the milk, sugar and egg
  4. when the custard is cool pour over the biscuits and ginger
  5. whip the cream with a little ginger wine or syrup
  6. decorate the trifle with the cream and some artistically sliced ginger

PS If anyone knows what Casino biscuits are I would love to hear from you!


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