Raspberry Trifle Cups

Raspberry Trifle Cups: Trifle is the quintessential winter holiday dessert and positively addicting. It might as well be the official state dessert in Great Britain. Every home, school lunchroom, tea parlor, and restaurant have a version it is so beloved.
Trifle is a cold dessert with layers of dense-textured plain cake soaked with cream sherry and a vanilla English custard.

Trifle takes pudding from comfort food to the level of the sublime in this composed dessert suitable for a buffet banquet table. The word “trifle” comes from the Old French “trufle,” and literally means something whimsical or of little consequence, so this means its easy and quick to make by pouring leftover custard over stale cake. While most people opt for a package of Bird’s original custard mix because the custard is too time-consuming, here is the microwave version that will have you perfect custard in minutes made in your over sized measuring cup in about one-quarter the time. Be sure to check for doneness at the minimum time as seconds can make a difference.

For serving, you layer it in a glass trifle bowl so that it is as much a centerpiece as the dessert, and from the side, its layers can be seen. The bowl should have a flat bottom and straight sides, and not too deep. Special trifle bowls are often with a short pedestal. Or else compose each one in individual footed glass bowls, which is certainly a delight. This is a showy dessert despite being so homespun.The entire concept is to have equal amounts of each ingredient: cake soaked in sherry, custard, fruit or jam (there are pro-jam and anti-jam camps), whipped cream. There are lots of variations today…chocolate cake, pumpkin bread, exotic fruits like pineapple, different liqueurs like Amaretto, even canned fruit. But for me, a devout lover of white food, this version is the essence of a great trifle.

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Every age dotes on a bit of trifle: non-alcoholic versions for the kid’s birthday party, the festive sherry-soaked version, and who could have known it is a standard in serious British men’s clubs, most probably “because it’s a perfect mixture of alcohol and the nursery.”

Christmas dessert in a glass with decoration

Raspberry Trifle Cups


Cookware: 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup or batter bowl
Microwave Wattage: 1,100 to 1,300
Total Cook Time: 5 to 7 minutes
Standing Time: About 2 hours
Serves 8 to 10 cups

  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 room temperature pound cake (store-bought or homemade), cut into 1/2-inch slices and air-dried at room temperature a few hours
  • 1/2 cup cream sherry
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, or one 12-ounce packages unsweetened frozen raspberries

For serving

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream whipped to soft peaks with 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 cup coarsely broken amaretti cookies
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds


1. In the 2-quart measuring cup, combine the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Whisk in the cold milk in a stream to prevent lumps. Microcook on MEDIUM, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring with a whisk every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until very hot, smooth, thickened, and clear. Do not boil and do not hurry.

2. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and quickly stir a small amount of the hot custard. Pour the tempered egg yolks back into the glass measure, whisking constantly.

3. Microcook on MEDIUM, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once after 30 seconds, until smooth and thick. Custard will have a soft center area about the size of a quarter; it will set upon standing. Remove from oven and whisk in the vanilla. Whisk briskly to cool down. Pour into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface of sauce so that it is in contact with the custard (this will prevent it getting a skin) and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

  • -To prepare your mugs, find 6-8 glass mugs (or whatever you have), and give them a rinse in water. Pour the sugar into a shallow plate. While mugs are still damp, press the rims into the sugar for garnish.
  • Break apart your cooled cake into small cubes .
  • -Arrange trifle with a first layer of cake
  • -Drizzle with the sherry
  • -Spoon in a layer of raspberries.
  • -Repeat a second layer of cake, sherry, berries, and ending with a layer of cake. -Press down gently over the top.
  • -Pour of the cooled custard over the cake layers; it will soak into the cake and down the sides of the cup. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, 6 hours or as long as overnight.
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4. Before serving, cover the top with a thick layer of the whipped cream and sprinkle with the amaretti crumbs and toasted almonds and refrigerate up to a few hours, to overnight, until serving.

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