Nan’s Trifle

There are tons of different ways of making trifle. Once you have the basics of Nan’s trifle down, you can start trying your own variations. I’ve had some pretty awful trifles in my day but Nan’s is usually the best.


2 packs of Lady fingers or jelly rolls (or any light, white cake…. pound cake, angel food, etc.)
1 lg. pack Jello (raspberry or strawberry)
1 can fruit cocktail, drained (a good one with soft fruit) – canned peaches will do as long as you chop them a bit You can add the juice to the liquid you use for the jello
1 can custard or a pack of vanilla pudding (Jello brand is best, some of the others are “fake” tasting) OR, if you can make custard from the dried powder, that is better than vanilla pud.
1 container whipping cream (Don’t use whipped cream substitutes, they are horrible)
1 teaspoon of sugar
Cake sprinkles

Making it:

– Layer a bowl with jelly roll, Lady fingers or slices of cake, lining the sides, as well
– Make your Jello (you can add the juice from the drained can of fruit at this point, reducing the water you use by that amount)
– Very carefully pour Jello into the cake in the bowl. If you put too much in the cake will float up. I pour it by the spoonful down the sides of the bowl to saturate the cake on the sides. If you do it too quickly or too much the cake on the sides will fall over. Once the sides are done and the stuff at the bottom is soaked you can pour an inch or so of the Jello into the bowl and add a bit of the fruit cocktail to it
– Let the Jello set
– If you are making your custard, do it now and let it cool in the fridge

– Once the Jello is set, you can add a layer of fruit cocktail and the custard or pudding layer and put back in the fridge.
– Just before serving, whip the cream with a tsp. of sugar and top the trifle

– Add sprinkles and serve


For my own trifle, I use frozen unsweetened raspberries and add a little sugar. The sweetened ones are just a bit too sweet for my taste. If you are going to add your own sugar, reserve a little of the juice from the next step and heat it with a little sugar in the microwave and pour it back into the raspberries and let cool

Drain the raspberries and add the juice to the Jello.

Follow the instructions above for “Jello-ing” the cake adding the raspberries to the remaining to the bottom of the bowl and pour in Jello to cover the fruit.

Do the rest of the trifle as above.

Some people add bananas on top of the custard layer. It’s all good.

If you Google “English trifles”, you will probably find a lot of recipes. Take a look at them and you might come across some variations that you might like to try.

In the summer, you can add fresh raspberries and or strawberries instead of the cocktail

“Avec” Trifle

Mom, of course, usually makes one of hers “Avec” for the grown-ups. She pours a bit of sherry over the cake bit before adding the jello

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