Quick Recipes and Easy

A Christmas with Trifle

This Christmas, I’m going to make trifle for desert. After all, what is Christmas without trifle? I’m sure, even the pickiest of diners who shun cross-cultural eating would find a soft culinary spot for trifle in their hearts and palates if they could hear Charles Dickens vouch for it.

I first tasted trifle, a couple of decades ago, not in England where it has originated but in Long Island, NY, in a restaurant called Steak Pub of Fort Salonga, where every Friday evening, we used to go for dinner, especially for trifle and the free house wine. Our friends and neighbors who dined there for the same reason would drop by our table to discuss the kind of trifle the chef was surprising us with that the evening. To us, trifle and food was all about sharing, same as the neighborly gossip. In that restaurant, desert was picked by the customer from the desert bar, giving him or her an educational access to the desert chef.

Trifle, as a word, is the offspring of the French word trufle, meaning something trite or whimsical. As a desert, trifle place down its roots inside the 1700s cooking arts when biscuits, liquor, and custard were combined. In the United States, this new delicacy found fantastic popularity with the plantation owners in the south.

Through the last three centuries, trifle has soaked its way into literature through the writers’ tongues, after Oliver Wendell Holmes called it, “That most wonderful object of domestic art,” Dickens place it among his ‘glorious food’s, and J. K. Rowling mentioned it in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Trifle not only delights the palate but also enchants the senses, especially the eyes, for it is an artistic desert arranged in layers, placed in trifle bowl for effect, and refrigerated for several hours before serving. A trifle bowl is a very large, see-through glass bowl from which every tasty layer of trifle beckons its admirers.

Trifle’s layers are: a sponge cake or even ladies fingers soaked in brandy, whisky, or sherry; jelly or jam; custard; fresh fruit or berries in season; and huge mounds of whipped cream topped with cherries, sprinkles, or nuts. Although whatever composes the trifle can be made from a mix or sometimes leftover cakes and puddings can be used, a right-to -form trifle gourmet would like his trifle to be made from scratch. After the trifle’s layers are arranged, refrigeration for several hours is essential for the flavors to penetrate into each layer.

There are quite a few kinds of trifle: chocolate trifle, coronation trifle, quick trifle, Black Forest trifle, and the excellent ancient-fashioned trifle English mums make as an alternate Christmas desert to the plum pudding. My trifle shall not take the celebrity route, neither, tastewise, will it come close to Emeril’s deserts or Creole Christmas Trifle, but it will make an impact on Santa when he comes down our chimney.
I’m sure of that.

Joy Cagil is an author on a site for
Writing.Com/ Creative Writing ( Writing.Com/ Writing.Com/)
Her training is in foreign languages and linguistics. Her culinary skills are self-taught. Her portfolio can be found at Writing.Com/authors/joycag Writing.Com/authors/joycag.



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