A Christmas Trifle... For Any Occasion

This is a great, simple recipe for a trifle that I have been enjoying eating for as long as I can remember and always goes down a treat when served by maman. It is not just for Christmas although usually it is the time of year when I have eaten it the most and you can get a hold of some more 'Christmas flavoured' ingredients.

Attempts to re-create it have been made in Seoul, South Korea by Korean friends who visited my family one year at home in Australia and in Paris, France with different outcomes.

Personally, I have not attempted making a trifle at any time whilst living or passing through Korea. But it appears that finding the ingredients can be incredibly difficult. I was unable to locate my beloved vegemite in Korea even in 신세계 'Shinsegae' department store in Busan reputed to be the biggest department store in the world. But I digress...

The notable experience of creating a trifle being my attempt when I was living in Paris when I was 23 years old. I busily scrambled around the ville des lumieres looking for suitable ingredients or substitutes.

I believed I had everything- after having asked the employees at my local supermarché for "gelée" (French for jelly... surprise, ey?) and being led to the equivalent to 'Tang' orange drink mixtures "Erm...non, pas ça". I then discovered that custard is called "creme anglaise" en français and almost despairing at the thought that perhaps I would have to try to make my own jam sponge roll from scratch (not so appealing back then, though would more than give it a whirl these days); I added the thickened cream only to be somewhat HORRIFIED to learn that it was thickened creme fraîche- the closest thing to Anglo-Saxon SOUR CREAM! Although the packet clearly has crème légère written on it I had thought it was a 'light' low- fat cream that would be a suitable replacement for the usual dollop cream.
Fortunately -or not so much- or most bizarrely, I was told that the trifle was still good. However, this was coming from a French person who had not been introduced to trifle before. I could not eat it   :-(  but boy was there ever a boudeuse (sulker) as that girl on that particular day.

So after a rather longwinded story, here it is:-

Take a packet of jelly (port wine flavoured is ideal) and add about four cups of almost boiling water to absorb the crystals. Slice up a swiss jam roll and layer the base of a large bowl with the slices. Then add jelly liquid to thoroughly cover them. Refrigerate until jelly is firm.

Note: I saw jam sponge rolls at the new Marks & Spencer (UK grocery store) at Centre Commerciale Beaugrenelle in the 15ème. Metro Commerce, ligne 8. You can probably get most ingredients there.

The next step is to add fruit salad. This can be either fresh or canned. In this case, crushed tropical fruit salad is used although I would much prefer a traditional fruit salad with more variety in there.

Take a container of custard (crème anglaise) and cover the sponge roll slices. Because it is Christmas time, it is nice to use a brandy flavoured custard depending on where you are and availability.

After layering the custard, do the same with a very thick dessert cream. Any type of thick cream may be used. Try to cover as much of the sponge as possible with both custard and the cream.


For a garnish, a Cadbury flake is crushed and sprinkled over the top of the trifle. Keep the bowl in the refrigerator to stay cool until you wish to serve it.

Note: Cadbury flakes can be found at the W.H Smith Bookshop on Rue de Rivoli- opposite the Tuileries Gardens and Louvre- on the first floor, where they sell American, British and Australian foodstuffs (yes, including Vegemite!).


Hope you enjoy
Note: Trifle turned out a little different to usual. Would in retrospect use a more varied fruit salad but was only able to come up with what we used. And personally, I love a bit of extra jelly too!