Now I know that there are many glorious, delicious and sublime desserts available out there in this world. Let's take that as read.
For me, however, dessert doesn't get much better (except maybe with a Summer Pudding) than with an enormous fresh fruit Trifle.
My hubby reckons that life is made more bearable by the use of Sprinkles - and where a Trifle is concerned, I think he's right. On a steak pie, maybe not so much. Anyway ..
We were entertaining my parents for lunch this last Mother's Day and had decided upon hubby's signature dish of a beautiful risotto, followed by a good old-fashioned, retro, enormous bowl of wobbly, be-sprinkled, Trifle. Much happiness.
Trifle just makes you smile, don't you think? If I see a big wobbly bowl of Trifle, I can't help but be taken back to childhood meals of getting past the main course as fast as possible, so as to get to the Trifle moment. The layers of fruit, jelly, sponge, custard and cream! Where else would you get all those fabulous ingredients in the one spoonful? Certainly not from a Sticky Toffee Pudding (in all its undoubted glory). Nor from a Cheesecake (even though it'd try to come close). No, the Trifle reigns supreme over dessert-land in its decadence and deliciousness.
My trifle started life on the Saturday morning, when I began by soaking the Boudoir Finger Biscuits (far, far superior to your dry old bit of leftover sponge, or measly Swiss roll) in sherry, then made the raspberry jelly by including the juice from a tin of raspberries. The fruit - including sliced fresh strawberries - was spread over two layers of soaked biscuits (the bottom layer soaked in sherry, the top layer soaked in jelly) and then topped off by pouring the jelly slowly across the whole, to act as lovely fresh flavoured, jewel coloured, wobbly glue to hold it all together.
From there, it was reverently placed in the fridge to set and await that evening's layer of custard.
Now, if you're going to make a Trifle from scratch like this, don't ruin the loveliness by using nasty pre-made runny custard - even if it does purport to come from Devon. Also, don't go all super keen and make Michelin star custard from cream and vanilla pods. Oh no. Invest in some custard powder and follow the instructions. THAT's the type of custard that a Trifle enjoys and that's the type of custard that will set properly.
Once be-custarded, return your baby Trifle to the fridge to chill before tomorrow's lavish cream layer, the bright colour of strawberry decorations and the unabashed joy of sprinkles.
The following day, whip up some double cream to soft peak stage (I will admit, mine went a bit beyond that, but not so far that it was unusable - thank goodness). Spread the cream in a generous layer (you can always whip up some more, if you run out before the top is covered) over the top of the custard and ruffle up the surface with the tines of a fork.
Now is the time to get creative with some strawberry slices and, moments before the big reveal of service, to break out the Sprinkles of Joy.
For just a moment, stand back and admire the work of art that is your Trifle. Wallow in the anticipation of that "gloop!" sound that the first spoonful will make as it is served and the flavour of those first glorious spoonfuls.
Happy, happy days.