Trifle is the quintessential pudding that has graced Irish tables for centuries and is a very traditional Christmas Day dessert. There are various versions of a trifle recipe, some 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, if you have the time 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.


160g/ 6 oz Madeira, sponge or pound cake, halved and cut into thick slices (OR) 1 160g packet trifle sponges
3 tbsp sweet sherry
1 x 135g block raspberry or strawberry jelly (jello) 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)


1 - The trifle can be made in one large glass dish or into individual glasses.

2 - 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.

3 - If using fresh strawberries, slice thickly (reserve a few for decoration), if using frozen leave whole. Otherwise, lay the fruit evenly over the cake. Press lightly with a fork to release the juices.

4 - Pour over the liquid jelly (jello) making sure it covers the sponge. Place the dish into the refrigerator and leave until the jelly is set.

5 - Once set, spoon over the custard, again in a thick layer.

6 - Finally, finish with a thick layer of whipped cream either spooned over or piped using a piping bag.

7 - 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 Ireland 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 jell. 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.