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A trifle is a dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or, more recently, gelatin, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.

The earliest known use of the name trifle was for a thick cream flavored with sugar, ginger and rosewater, the recipe for

Layers of a trifle dessert. Layers of a trifle dessert.  
which was published in 1596 in a book called "The good housewife’s Jewell". It wasn't until sixty years later when milk was added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread.  

Some trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or Madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions may use sweet juices instead, as the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake layers.

One popular trifle variant has the sponge soaked in jelly (liquid-gelatin dessert) when the trifle is made, which sets when refrigerated. The egg and jelly bind together and produce a pleasant texture if made in the correct proportions.

A trifle is often used for decoration as well as taste, incorporating the bright, layered colours of the fruit, jelly, egg, and the contrast of the creamy yellow cream.

Trifles are often served at Christmas time, sometimes as a lighter alternative to the much denser Christmas pudding.

A Creole trifle (also sometimes known as a 'Russian cake') is a different but related

Illustrations from Isabella Beetons Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861 Illustrations from Isabella Beetons Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861  
dessert item consisting of pieces of a variety of cakes mixed together and packed firmly, moistened with alcohol (commonly red wine or rum) and a sweet syrup or fruit juice, and chilled. The resulting cake contains a variety of colour and flavour. Bakeries in New Orleans have been known to produce such cakes out of their leftover or imperfect baked goods.

A recent variation is the chocolate trifle, usually made with chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and skor bars.

In France, a dessert similar to trifle is known as diplomate (French) which explains the production of such trifle-like in New Orleans. In Italy, a dessert similar to trifle is known as zuppa inglese, meaning English Soup.



This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)
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