I enjoy watching the British mystery shows on PBS. I wax nostalgic over the short, rough-hewn walls fencing in rolling, emerald-green pastures dotted with bright yellow buttercups pictured in almost every scene. When I hear the crunch, crunch of feet on the pebbled walkways on these shows, I flash back to the entrance of my grandparent’s home in Oban, Scotland. I open the squeaky front gate and run up the pebbled walkway to my Granny and Grandad’s humble home, a second floor apartment of a four-unit walk-up on the outer edge of town.

At the end of the pebbled walkway, as soon as we opened up the door of the first-floor landing, and before we stomped up the steep carpeted stairway, our stomachs would rumble in anticipation of whatever treats my Granny had baked for us. It amazed me what she could produce out of her tiny kitchen with no fridge (unless you counted the windowsill where the milk and butter for the day sat chilling), and a two burner range with a miniscule oven.

One of Granny’s specialties was her fresh strawberry trifle. Grandad grew the strawberries in the backyard. I can’t eat strawberries today without the mingled smell of pipe tobacco as a back note. I would sit with my grandad, our backs to the garden shed, enjoying some afternoon sun while he smoked his pipe (Granny didn’t allow it in the house). We nibbled on bright, red, tiny nuggets of strawberry sweetness plucked right off of the vine. We were supposed to be gathering strawberries for the evening tea-time trifle, but we had to taste test some first!

All this prelude is for you to picture what I feel, smell, and taste every time I make a simple imitation of my Granny’s trifle. Her base was always a homemade, rich and buttery pound-like cake. Her topping was fresh whip cream that was to order, left on her stoop in cold glass bottles along with the daily milk delivery. And the strawberries were fresh from the backyard. Her custard was made from fresh eggs and whole unhomogenized milk, rich with butter-laced creaminess.

In contrast, my trifle base is either “Sarah Lee Pound Cake,” or my home-made leftover cake. My whipping cream and strawberries are always store bought. My custard is either homemade or from a box of instant vanilla pudding mix, depending on how much time I have to spare. Here is my quick and easy rendition of my Granny’s Fresh Berry Trifle.

In a tall, straight-sided glass dish, layer cubed pound cake, fresh berries, and berry flavored jello. Pour hot disolved jello over the cake and fruit. Let it set, preferably overnight. Add custard over the set jello mixture and allow to rest till firm. Before serving, top with sweetened heavy whipping cream. This makes a stunning valentine treat with its bright red color. It looks like it took a lot of work, but you know better!

Which berry will you choose for your trifle?

left over pound cake

fresh fruit (berries or peaches work well)

1 large box fruit flavored jello made to pkg directions

1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix made to pkg directions

 whipping cream sweetened with 1/4 cup powdered sugar


Trifle Ingredients

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This