First, I want to introduce you all to a new blog I found: PAPILLON BLEU UK

Patricia has made this little video herself, and it's one of the most charming little stories I have ever been priviledged to see: I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I have.

FAVOURITE TRADITIONS - this is a big subject... and in our house, it was FOOD!

There are several favourite family recipes and although I mentioned this one last year (before I joined the Pink Saturdays) I'm giving it to you again in its entirety as it's so good!

May I present my mother's Lethal Sherry Trifle

Images from Tack-O-Rama

This is a family recipe, but it’s me who worked out how to get a quarter to half a bottle of sherry into it!

This a celebration trifle – I only ever make it at Christmas – and usually start it the day before Christmas Eve, so there’s plenty of time for things to set.

Once it’s done, just leave it in the fridge and whip the cream a couple of hours before you want to serve it (I do mine on Christmas morning) then it will sit happily in the fridge until you want it. It will keep for up to 4 days (although mine usually doesn’t last that long – it’s very more-ish…..). This is party size, by the way.

  • LARGE cut glass or Pyrex bowl - minimum 4 pints (2½ litres) capacity
  • 2 x packets Jelly or jelly crystals (Jello in the US
  • 1 x bottle sweet full cream sherry
  • 1 x pack boudoir biscuits or sponge fingers
  • 2 x tins fruit (fruit cocktail, strawberries, sliced peaches etc)
  • 1 x tin or packet Birds Custard Powder
  • 1 x tablespoon sugar (granulated or caster)
  • 1 x pint (568 ml) milk (semi-skimmed or full cream)
  • 1 x LARGE tub double cream (half pint or even more)
  • Glacé cherries, morello cherries or grated chocolate to decorate (optional)
NOTE: If using a precious cut glass bowl, make sure you never put hot ingredients straight into it – or it will crack.  Rinse in hot water first, then keep the bowl resting on top of a towel to help absorb temperature changes, and let any hot ingredients (jelly, custard) cool down a little first.

Layer the boudoir biscuits or sponge fingers across the bottom of the bowl.  If using Swiss Roll, cut into slices (½ - ¾ inch) and lay on their sides across the bottom of the bowl, and just coming up the sides a little (you can see them through the glass – pretty!)

Take your bottle of sherry, and add by sprinkling over the sponge (if it helps, keep your thumb over the neck of the bottle, so it dribbles out).  Alternatively, pour the sherry into a milk jug or similar, and drizzle over the sponge layer.  (The idea is to get as much sherry into the sponge as it will absorb, and you want the sherry to completely absorb into the sponge, so pouring half a bottle in at one go is not a good idea, as the sponge might disintegrate.  Drizzling it in works best.)

Keep adding the sherry until you have used about one third to one half of the bottle.Meantime, you have opened your tins of fruit and drained the liquid off (RESERVE this liquid – you will use it later).  Add the fruit from one tin on top of the sherry/sponge layer (I usually use about a whole tin of strawberries) and leave whilst you make up the first packet of jelly.  The strawberries will absorb some of the sherry flavour.

The jelly in the UK comes either in a slab or in crystals (sugar free).  Melt in a quarter of a pint of BOILING water, and stir until dissolved.  Allow it to cool down and add the reserved liquid from the tin of fruit  to make up to HALF a pint ONLY – this strong mix of jelly will be just enough to set all the liquid, sponge and fruit in this first layer.  (Any more liquid, and you will end up with soup!).  Set aside and allow to cool completely before putting into the fridge.

If you are impatient to get on with the next step, and it isn’t cooling quickly enough (NEVER put hot liquids in the fridge – especially in a cut glass bowl or it will crack) then stand the container in a pan with cold water (and even ice cubes) to bring the temperature down without diluting the liquid further.

Now leave the jelly alone, and put in the fridge until set.

Next step:  The second layer of jelly.

First sprinkle the remainder of the fruit over the first layer of sponge etc.  Make up the other packet of jelly (again, using only a QUARTER PINT of boiling water) and add the liquid from the tin of fruit (and cold water if necessary) only to the HALF pint level. Allow to cool down a little before pouring into your bowl.  Cool for a while longer then put in the fridge to set (overnight if you can).

Adding the custard:
Make up the custard: use 2 heaped tablespoons custard powder, and mix in a bowl with one tablespoon sugar (granulated or caster).  Add a little milk from one pint and mix well. Heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan.

When the milk is fairly hot (but not boiling), pour from the saucepan into the bowl with the custard/sugar mix, and stir in.  Return the whole lot to the saucepan, put back on the heat and keep stirring until it comes to the boil (it will thicken considerably).  Let it boil for up to half a minute, stirring all the time, then remove from the heat to cool.

Whether you like to pour the custard into a jug first, or prefer to let it cool in the pan, put a piece of Clingfilm straight onto the surface of the hot custard and press gently down on top of the custard, working from the middle to the sides.  This gets rid of any air bubbles, and prevents a skin from forming.  Do this immediately you take the custard off the heat. As soon as it has cooled down enough (say 15 minutes) remove the clingfilm and pour the custard over the trifle.  Apply more clingfilm over the top then put in the fridge to set.

And finally, folks: 
Take the double cream (at least half a pint – more if you want) and put in half a teaspoon of sugar.  This helps it when you are beating it.  You don’t want to sweeten (you have enough tastes in there) but you do want it to hold peaks.

Whip with an electric beater, and when it has doubled in volume and holds its peaks, spread carefully over the trifle using a palette knife or fork to make pretty swirls and patterns. Add a little at a time, starting at the centre and working out towards the edges (so you don’t add too much weight at any one spot, and won’t break the surface of the set custard).  Add a little grated chocolate, or cherries cut in half, to decorate.

You know this is alcoholic, so don't drive or operate machinery, etc etc.Having said that - hope you enjoy it!

And here are some links to some more family favourites you might enjoy:

And here is a great little video on how to wrap really awkward things - just using a twist of cloth! Amazing, and it works. And the cloth could be a pashmina, length of fabric, tablecloth... a present in itself!

Furoshiki gift wrapping from RecycleNow on Vimeo.

I think it could be a lifesaver if someone arrives unexpectedly and forgot to buy a present.

And finally, please visit Beverly's blog How Sweet the Sound to read the rest of the Pink Saturday posts. This week is going to be so special!

Below, you'll find a history of Advent calendars, and below that some new freebie blog backgrounds, headers etc if you'd like to use them.

Don't forget decorations (including Christmassy backgrounds) stay up till 12th Night (January 6th) so it's still not too late to bling up your blog!


  1. Fun videos and a splendid post. Thanks for sharing the recipe. ~ Sarah

  2. Oh my what great recipes thank you so much for sharing! That trifle looks wonderful. I must come back to visit! Have a very happy and healthy Holiday Season Happy Pink Saturday. Grace

  3. The Quintessential Magpie19 December 2009 at 11:02

    Susie, that trifle sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing that family recipe. And I also enjoyed your video on how to wrap using fabric. That was very helpful, and I wish I had tried that with some things that were a tad awkward to wrap. I struggled and wrapped them in paper instead, but I might just have to try this with a few things I have left.

    And I will be sure to visit your new friend.

    Happy Pink Saturday!


    Sheila :-)

  4. The Quintessential Magpie19 December 2009 at 11:06

    P.S. Her video was, indeed, marvelous!

  5. What wonderful memories these recipes brought back.
    I grew up in Essex but now live in New York
    so it was a pleasure to recall times past.
    Greetings from the US!

  6. Lynn-What an informative post! I have been looking for a Christmas trifle recipe and this sounds wonderful! And no need to serve wine with the meal :) I am not familiar with custard cream. Loved the video--very crafty. Merry Christmas and Happy Pink Saturday.

  7. Couture de Papier19 December 2009 at 13:58

    Beautiful..HPS Happy Holidays

  8. Happy Pink Saturday!

    What an awesome post! Great videos, recipe and once again, the background and banner are stunning!

    ~ Gabriela ~

  9. Oh what a great post today, Susie!! I just LOVED watching Chloe's Christmas with the little drummer boy!! The gift wrapping video was fun to watch!.. And your mother's sherry trifle looks delicious!! I just want to reach right through the screen to try some right now!.. Have a wonderful weekend! ~tina

  10. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks wonderful and I'm sure tastes even better.

    Have a wonderful Pink Saturday. Merry Christmas.

  11. My Crafty Little Page19 December 2009 at 14:39

    Have I ever told you how much I love your blog??? It's wonderful. I loved the sweet video and now I'm tipsy from just READING your mom's recipe. lol
    Love the little snowflakes falling ever so gently on your blog. Have a wonderful Christmas. xoxo Nancy

  12. Wow, Susie...that recipe for the Sherry trifle looks so darn good. And I haven't had me breakfast yet! Also, I love furoshiki-it is such a neat presentation and like you said, a way to include another gift as the wrapper. Clever. Happy Christmas and Pink Saturday ~

  13. The trifle looks & sounds delicious. Just today we had a Christmas get together & we were discussing how we never seem to be able to get through dessert anymore because we're full from the feasting on the previous dishes ... we're seriously deciding to start with dessert next year ... I wonder if we'll dare to do it though, lol.

    Happy pink saturday.

    ciao for now,
    Elena :)

  14. Happy Pink Saturday Susie. How are you?. Happy Holidays. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Susie, what a wonderful recipe! Sounds too good to be true! LOL!

    Thanks for sharing all the recipes and the gift wrapping video . . . how cool is that?

    Thanks so much for sharing and Happy Pink Saturday!

    Wishing you and your family and blessed and safe Christmas.


  16. Hi Susie
    WOW I LOVE the video on wrapping with cloths. Easy peasy.
    Love your pretty curtains around your page. I feel like I have come to the theatre.
    I sent your blog off to a couple of girlfriends that need help with blogger. You have great tutorials.
    Very much appreciate, but I use a MAC. lol
    Happy PS Susie.
    Love Claudie

  17. Oh Susie! This sounds so YUMMY! I would love to try it. What flavor of Jello should I use? It's a wonderful tradition....I'd keep this one going!
    Happy Pink Saturday and Merry Christmas!

  18. Hello Susie; Now that sounds and Looks really Yummy! Happy Pink Saturday..

    Merry Christmas

  19. Your recipe sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing. Happy Pink Saturday and have a very Merry Christmas.

  20. Well yum!!! Going to have to try that! I miss you over at Vintage Vinette. After all the dreaming I finally have a dedicated scrap studio space. I have tons of photos on my blog if you want to come see....lots of vintage yumminess. :)

  21. fitty's pinky rose cottage20 December 2009 at 15:10

    oh gosh.. my fave triffle.. love love triffle.. thanks for sharing.. Happy Pink Saturday & Merry Christmas

  22. Nancy @ La Chambre Rose20 December 2009 at 16:13

    Hi there, I'm visiting in Internet Explorer! :-) We missed the snow storm in Boston and made it there and out before a drop fell.

    Now home and contemplating the menu for the holidays. We have the foods, just need to map it all out. So, I'm thinking, if I replaced the sherry with rum (not a whole bottle, though), I would pretty much have an Italian cream cake. True, in pieces, but that works for me. Lets see if we can marry the English with the Italian for our family. :-)

    Loved the little story. AND, the packaging video is great.

    All made it to THE idea spreadsheet. Thanks so much!

  23. someplace in thyme20 December 2009 at 16:25

    Susie, I want to thankyou so much for the trifle recipe. I think I may have to give it a try, it looks so good. May become a holiday tradition, you just never know. Now I am off to check out the wrapping video, Happy Pink Saturday and have a very Merry Christmas, see you in 2010, Char

  24. Jacalyn @ rmebathproducts.com20 December 2009 at 17:31

    Happy Belated Pink Saturday! Yesterday was crazed trying to get everything ready! Happy Holidays!


  25. Lynn@ The Vintage Nest20 December 2009 at 22:25

    Susie, if we ever all get together you must bring the trifle!! :) Merry Merry Christmas and Happy Pink Saturday xo Lynn

    P.s. I loved that video. Who thinks up this stuff? Wish I was that clever!

  26. I love the wrapping video, it looks so easy and the ideas are great.
    your trifle recipe is just the same as I make it. My Mum never used sherry in her trifles as she said it gave her a headache so I now over compensate, (and add as much as you), for being so deprived.
    Take a peek at my blog as you've given me the idea to post my Black Forest Trifle recipe very soon.

  27. Thank you ever so much again Susie.
    Some of your Pink Saturday friends have left me wonderful comments.
    I already told you I will try the trifle recepe.Sherry? Yummm too! he!he!
    I wish you a Merry Christmas.
    Keep on dreaming Susie!

  28. Hello Suzie, your post is a delight and very informative. Loved the drummer boy video and the trifle is awe inspiring. I want some NOW. Your detailed instructions are wonderful. It will be a trifle Christmas treat in my daughter's home this year.

    Thank you for visiting me on Pink Sat. We were out of town braving the huge snow storm to visit our son in TN. We drove through the most beautiful winter wonderland.

    May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!

    Christmas love, Jeanne

  29. Trifle, yum, 'more-ish' a word my dear Mum always used..........Christmas memories, thanks Susie. Just back from New York City - realizing it's Christmas Eve and I must get moving here at home. The trifle will have to wait for New Year's Eve!!

    Happy Christmas dear.......enjoy each moment.



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