“Growing up in the 1970s in a family of six children was very interesting where food was concerned – there are so many wonderful, nostalgic memories. My mum would shop on a shoestring and the shopping bags would be raided before they were even unpacked. Our family meals were simple and would always feature potatoes and some sort of “meat”, but the magic would happen with the homemade puddings. Sherry trifle was always my dad’s favourite and would be a masterpiece made
over a couple of days. Fresh raspberries or strawberries came from my grandpa’s garden or the pick-your- own farm (the abundance frozen so we could eat them during the winter). The sherry-soaked boudoir biscuits (why are they called that? The name still makes me smile) were often replaced with Weetabix biscuits because my siblings and I would have pinched them. In the words of Mr Kipling, surprisingly good. Then the wobbly raspberry or strawberry jelly, the silky Bird’s Custard and softly cold vanilla whipped cream with hundreds and thousands,
more berries and chocolate flakes crumbled over the top. Sometimes a bit of candied angelica made an appearance, too – but I didn’t really understand why. The way we could tell Mum’s trifle was a good one was if it “squelched” when the spoon went in. So delicious and so very reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon. I have written this recipe using packet jelly and Bird’s Custard because that’s what Mum always used and it would be wrong to change! ”
Arrange the biscuits or Weetabix on the bottom of a large glass trifle bowl (you can usually pick up beautiful crystal bowls from charity shops). Hull and slice the strawberries, reserving some for decoration, and scatter over the fingers with half of the raspberries then drizzle well with the sherry.
Tear up the jelly into cubes, pop in a heatproof measuring jug and add 600ml boiling water, stirring until all dissolved, then add 600ml of cold water. Pour over the sponge and fruit, place in the fridge and allow to set.
Prepare the custard by mixing the custard powder with the sugar and a little milk in a bowl, and mix until dissolved. Heat the remaining milk until nearly boiling, then add to the custard mix. Stir and return to the pan, whisking as it comes back to the boil and turns lovely and thick. Pour the custard into the bowl and allow to cool, stirring occasionally so the custard doesn’t form a skin, then pour over the set jelly, spreading it out with the back of a spoon so the jelly is all covered.
Whip the double cream with the vanilla paste until you have soft peaks, then spoon over the layer of custard, creating peaks with the back of your spoon.
Finish the trifle by crumbling over the chocolate Flakes or, if you’re feeling more upmarket, grate over the dark chocolate. Finally, decorate with the remaining raspberries and sliced strawberries, and for that true Seventies flourish, hundreds and thousands and candied angelica if you fancy it.