English Summer Strawberry Trifle

by Laura on July 4, 2011

When the house is helter-skelter, the list is too long, and my energy is flagging, the best thing I can do for myself is to invite friends for a meal.   The cleaning and the cooking have to be done anyhow, I figure, so why not have the happy reward of their company at the end?  Step one for a summer supper: make trifle. If you’re unfamiliar with trifle, it’s a quintessentially English dessert: layers of sturdy sponge cake soaked with sherry, lush custard, bright jam, and fresh fruit, all topped with a crown of softly whipped cream.  This one is the epitome of an English summer afternoon.  In fact, when I moved to England the first time, I arrived at the end of summer, to hot afternoons, sherry in the garden as the sun waned, and strawberries with a pour of cream.  I’ve made dozens of trifles, but it’s never occurred to me to translate those afternoons.  I’m so happy I finally did.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lizzi July 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Not sure if I should admit this, but trifle is one of my absolute favourite breakfast food.
(second to pavlova…. I only wish I could’ve included my amazing pavlova in the package I sent you!!)

2 Laura July 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I was just talking about making pavlova today. I have egg whites in my refrigerator from the double batch of custard I made. Wish it were more post friendly. I would love to try yours! I was flipping through a stack of papers on my desk recently and rediscovered your Tim Tam slam illustrated directions. So great, Lizzi.

3 Lizzi July 4, 2011 at 11:39 pm

This is my current favourite variety/way to serve pavlova. Except when making a full-size one (rather than mini, individual serves), I substitute almond essence for the ground almonds (or else the fat in the nuts causes the whole thing to be a – literal – flop. I found this out the hard way). Just delicious.

4 Kris Jacobson July 5, 2011 at 9:38 am


5 Laura July 5, 2011 at 11:27 am

Thank you, Kris.

6 Laura July 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

Looks delicious, Lizzi. I used to love that blog. It just up and disappeared. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. No last farewell post. Just silence.

7 Lizzi July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I know what you mean… it made me sad. I always wonder what happened, when blogs suddenly go quiet. The drama queen in me imagines horrific personal tragedies; the realist assumes they just got bored. I’m undecided about which upsets me more!!

8 Snippets of thyme July 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

It’s beautiful. My husband would love how the strawberries are oozing down into the cake. That is just delicious looking.

9 Joyce July 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Laura, you cannot believe how envious this post makes me. Envy that you used to live in England and envious that I can’t dig into that trifle right now!
I can’t remedy the first one just yet, but you can be sure I’ll be trying to fix the second part as soon as possible! I’m imagining this with a lemon-basil syrup and positively salivating!

10 Snippets of thyme August 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

This looks delicious. It reminds me thought that I gave away my trifle bowl several moves ago. Why did I do that? This is such a lovely summer dessert. The photographs are beautiful.

11 Laura August 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I found myself asking the same question after my grandmother passed away and I gave away things I later wished I hadn’t. You could deconstruct the trifle and make a messy but delicious free-form mess. Or you could make it in individual dishes.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: