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.


Do you have a recipe that has been passed down through gen­er­a­tions? Send us your recipe, the story be­hind it and, if pos­si­ble, a pho­to­graph (prefer­ably a copy or scan) of the rel­a­tive who passed it on. Re­mem­ber to in­clude a day­time tele­phone num­ber. Email us at aust­coun­trystyle@news.com.au or send a let­ter to Heir­loom Recipe, Coun­try Style, Locked Bag 5030, Alexan­dria, NSW 2015. Note: recipes may also be pub­lished on­line at homelife.com.au

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