English trifle recipe from 'Len Deighton's Action Cookbook'

Deighton's book offers its recipes in comic-strip form, accompanied by text. Here's what Deighton has to say on his English trifle recipe:

"When I was an assistant pastry chef my boss once said to me, 'There's only one essential ingredient in trifle: first-class sherry.' He was a man much given to exaggeration, but the point is a good one. Don't go to all the trouble involved in making a a trifle if you are going to use left-over stale cake, odds and ends, and tickle it up with cooking sherry.

"Many cooks make the custard and jelly firmer than they otherwise would. Some cooks put jelly and sherry into the sponge. This is to prevent the whole thing collapsing as you serve it. This is especially important in a restaurant because the trifle must remain on the sweet trolley, and look appetizing in an hour or so.

"You may prefer to switch alcohols and use any of the fancy liqueurs, like the Tia Maria I have suggested in the strip. Some people sprinkle a little rum, kirsch or brandy on each portion as it's served. As you see from all these variations, it's a very personal business. Develop your own personal style. My mother's trifles are famous far and wide. They are a long labour of love, and usually end up so vast that only the bread-mixing bowl can hold them." Credit: Paul Collins

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