Heirloom recipe: reason to celebrate
A fruit trifle enjoyed by three generations.
A fruit trifle and its much-loved maker have been at the centre of Smith family gatherings for three generations.
It’s about three years since 100-year-old Winifred Smith last made one of her famous fruit trifles, affectionately known as “Nan’s trifle” among her extended family, which includes nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. although Winifred is adamant that she still has all her “faculties”, she says her body is “slowing down”. She elected to move into a nursing home in Lakes Entrance, victoria, a few weeks before her 100th birthday, which she celebrated with two parties in October last year. Born in the English county of Derbyshire in 1914,Winifred learnt to make trifle when she worked at the Derby Road Café in Long Eaton as a young woman. After starting out on the confectionery and cake counter, she progressed to the kitchen before becoming head of the dining room. “at that time, trifle was a very popular dessert for celebrations, ”winifred remembers. At the age of 21, she married Walter, with whom she had three children.the family migrated to Australia in 1952 to escape the hardship of life in post-world War II Britain, a move Winifred says she has never regretted. This classic English pudding has been the highlight of family celebrations, such as Christmases and birthdays, for as long as Winifred’s granddaughter, Kelly Smith, can remember. “everyone used to ask, ‘is Nan making her trifle?’,” Kelly says. “It was always my contribution to the do,” says Winifred, who prefers a soft trifle with a layer of fruit suspended in jelly that hasn’t set too hard. And what is the secret to Winifred’s famous recipe? “Plenty of sherry, or whatever you fancy!”
SERVES 10–12 2 cups canned strawberries, drained, juice reserved 1¾ cups canned sliced peaches, drained, juice reserved 1 cup canned fruit salad, drained, juice reserved 8–10 sponge finger biscuits, broken into small pieces 2 x 85g packets strawberry jelly crystals 2 cups boiling water ¼ cup sherry, port, brandy or strawberry liqueur 4 tablespoons custard powder 2 tablespoons caster sugar 4 cups milk 600ml thickened cream
Place strawberries, peaches, fruit salad and sponge pieces in a 6-litre capacity trifle bowl and gently stir to combine. Place jelly crystals in a heatproof jug. Add boiling water and whisk with a fork until dissolved. Combine reserved fruit juices.add 400ml of combined juices and sherry to jelly mixture, and stir to combine. Gently pour jelly mixture over fruit mixture in trifle bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Place custard powder and sugar in a saucepan. Add ⅓ cup of milk and stir until smooth. Gradually pour in remaining milk, whisking constantly until combined. Stir over a medium heat until mixture boils. Cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes or until custard thickens. Cool completely. Spoon custard over set jelly mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Spoon over custard and serve.
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