Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle is a must for the Christmas or New Year party table. It is also a welcome addition, with or without the alcohol content, at a bring and share lunch. This family favourite version is creamy and fruity with a ‘kick’ of sherry. A traditional British dish, Trifle recipes often do not have jelly in them, but this is an adult version to bring back memories of childhood children’s parties with their jelly and fruit. Here I used mixed Strawberries and Raspberries but thought about adding cherries too, so it could have been a Sherry Jelly Berry Cherry Trifle. In fact why not make it a Christmas tongue twister: and have a Merry Sherry Jelly Berry (Cherry?) Trifle!!
This recipe is my own. It is always well received and not difficult to make alongside other things when you are busy, providing you leave enough setting time. The time can be reduced by using frozen fruits and/or adding part ice cubes or part iced water to set the jelly. Boudoir biscuits can be replaced with Trifle Sponges or slices of sponge cake or Swiss Roll. Unsweetened fruit can be rather tart so may need some extra sweetener if a sugar free jelly is used. Thick instant custard made from powder is an easy shortcut at a busy time of year and always successful (not tinned custard as it is too thin). I use Elmlea low fat whipping cream. The jelly packet instructions will probably say that 1pt water is needed for each jelly, but it is always wise to make the jelly stronger to help it to set, especially in warm weather and at short notice. Change the fruit if you wish, though beware using Kiwi fruit which stop jelly from setting. (I understand Pineapple can cause problems as well.) The quantity of sherry used is up to personal choice: if necessary simply adjust the amount to taste. If you wish or need to leave out the sherry altogether that’s fine, but it won’t be the same: however Jelly Berry Trifle is delicious too!
Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle
12 boudoir finger biscuits
3fl ozs, aprox, sweet sherry (I used Harvey’s Bristol Cream)
Instant custard: (1pint/20fl ozs/300ml milk 5tbsp powder & 5tsp sugar)
300ml/½pint Whipping cream (Elmlea half fat)
2 packets raspberry (or strawberry) jelly (tablet or powder)
1½pints/30fl ozs/850ml water (or mixed fruit juice & water, if using tinned fruits)
1lb 8ozs/750g mixed berries: strawberries, raspberries…
Sugar strands or Hundreds & Thousands to decorate
1. Using a glass bowl if possible so the layers are visible, line the bottom with boudoir biscuits and soak evenly with the sherry.
2. If you are using sugar free jelly you may wish to pre-sweeten any fresh fruit you are using at this point.
3. Make up the custard powder by initially mixing the powder with the sugar and a small amount of milk. Continue as follows:
Microwave: gradually add most of the remaining milk and then cook for bursts of 60seconds maximum, stirring in between each burst, until thick. Stir in any remaining cold milk.
Stove: Boil most of the remaining milk in a saucepan and gradually add to the powder/sugar/milk mixture in the jug, stirring as you pour. If it does not thicken quickly return to the saucepan and cook, stirring continuously, until thick. Stir in any remaining cold milk.
Leave to go cold. If necessary this can be speeded up by standing in a bowl of cold water.
4. If using tinned fruits, drain off and reserve any fruit juices. Make up the jelly with ½pint boiling water and make sure that it is fully dissolved (a quick burst in the microwave can help with this). Add reserved fruit juice and additional water to make jelly up to 1½pints in total. (The jelly packet instructions will probably say that 1pt water is needed for each jelly, but it is always wise to make this mixture stronger to help it to set, especially in Summer.)
5. Scatter the fruits in an even layer over the Boudoir biscuits in the dish and pour over enough jelly to surround the fruit. This first layer is to ensure that the fruit does not float, although this is not absolutely essential. Reserve enough jelly to put a final layer on the fruit when the first layer has set.
6. Put the bowl in the refrigerator to help set the jelly. Watch the remaining jelly making sure it does not set in the jug: to prevent this heat it slightly in the microwave if necessary or stand in a bowl of hot water.
7. When the first layer of jelly has set, pour over the remaining jelly and return to the fridge to set.
8. When the second layer of jelly has set, pour over the cold custard and put in the fridge to set.
9. When you are about to serve, whip the cream until thick but not too stiff and pour on top of the custard, spreading evenly.
10. Decorate the top with sugar strands or hundreds & thousands. This needs to be done just before serving as the colour from the toppings can sometimes bleed into the cream.