My daughters and I have a tradition of trying new recipes out for New Year’s Eve dinner. This year, I’d planned to try a new macaroni and cheese recipe (with smoked gouda, bacon, and peas) followed by a chocolate brownie and raspberry trifle. But I was feeling under the weather and so we just made the main dish and had ice cream for dessert.
Having the ingredients around (but really, who needs an excuse for something like this), I finally made the trifle this last weekend. It is delicious! I would definitely make it again, especially for a party as it looks festive and it makes a lot (though we are not getting tired of it)! Here’s the recipe: Bigger, Bolder Baking: Chocolate Raspberry Trifle. You could use your own brownie recipe for this, but I used the recommended Best Ever Brownie Recipe and will likely be making that again, too.
This recipe just popped up on my Pinterest feed, so I pinned it because chocolate and raspberries is one of my favorite combinations. Now it’s also making me think about the history of this type of dessert.
Although the word “trifle” has been used for desserts longer, the trifle as we know it (layers of cake, custard and cream, often with fruit or jam) became popular during the 18th century. Syllabub, which could be a dessert on its own or used as part of a trifle, is cream whipped with fruit juice and/or alcohol.
Here’s a cool NY Times article on the evolution of trifle.
Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s friend and eventually sister-in-law, lived with Jane Austen at Chawton and carried on many of the responsibilities of housekeeping. Here are recipes for trifle and syllabub from her collection of recipes. The Jane Austen Cookbook has a modernized version I will have to try, maybe for another blog post.
The recipe calls for Naples Biscuits, and I found a recipe for Naples biscuits at History Hoydens, where they are described as similar to Lady’s Fingers.
Here are a few other period recipes I found which I may want to try sometime:
Whim Wham, a Scottish Regency trifle (such a fun name, and it has Scotch in it), and a
trifle recipe from the Mrs Beeton (1861).
In my googling, I also ran across some delicious-sounding modern variations: a tipsy trifle with peaches and cream and pumpkin and gingerbread trifle.
Have you ever made a trifle? Do you have a favorite recipe?
As you say, who needs an excuse for trifle. Your recipes are so tempting I want trifle now!! I’ll try out Martha Lloyd’s recipe for fun, although it’s not very different from my own family’s version.
I remember a potently alcoholic syllabub served in a restaurant called Churche’s Mansion, in Nantwich, Cheshire. [wich = salt]. The owners said they used the recipe from a very old cookery book discovered in a hidden cupboard during renovations of the building, which dated from the 15th century.
Beth, my renaissance/medievalist friends would LOVE to come across a recipe book like that!! I wonder if the restaurant owners ever considered publishing their discovery.
How tempting, Elena! Trifle was my mother’s favorite dessert, but we usually weren’t ambitious enough to make it. She loved finding it on a restaurant’s menu, however! (She was a big fan of dessert anyway, and yet she was tiny!) Thanks for sharing your recipes andresearch with us. Now I’ll have to look for an opportunity for my characters to indulge! 🙂
My mother learned to make trifle when we lived in England. It is still one of my very favorite desserts!
Trifle!!!!! I adore trifle! It’s such a fantastic dessert!