Solstice Time, or Trifle Recipe

It’s that time of year again. We are having our winter solstice dinner tonight for neighbors and friends. I have a six course sit down dinner for 10 people and I should be cooking instead of blogging. I posted a photo of the trifle on FB, and a family member asked for the recipe so here it is. This is a little updated for how the recipe has morphed a bit over the years.

Lorette’s English Trifle


1 large clear glass bowl

Sara Lee frozen pound cake, 2 of them.  I actually only used about half of the second cake. If you slice it thinner you can get by with 1 cake.

Whipped cream, I used about a quart of whipping cream, whipped with a bit of sugar and vanilla. Use real cream, heavy whipping cream works best, and beat it fairly stiffly so it doesn’t wilt on you.

Vanilla pudding…NOT INSTANT, it will separate out in the trifle unless you eat it right away. I used 2 large packages of Jello brand pudding.  Make this the day before so it can chill. Warm pudding won’t work.

Fruit.  Fresh berries work best, of all the things I’ve tried. Raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries hold up best and don’t get soggy. And kiwis for the sides and top.  A big trifle like this one used a dozen or so kiwis, peeled and thinly sliced.  I probably used 3 or four cups of berries plus the kiwis.

Seedless raspberry jam.  I used about a quarter to a third of an 8 oz. jar.

Sherry.  Doesn’t have to be really expensive, but make sure it is not cooking sherry, use something you would actually drink.

Slice cake into about half inch slices, then cut these in half or thirds and line the bottom of the bowl.  Spread a thin layer of jam on the cake pieces.  After trying various utensils to do this, I decided that just using my fingers to spread it around works best.

Sprinkle with a bit of sherry…I used about 2-3 tablespoons per cake layer, maybe more, maybe less.

Stand your kiwi slices on end around the side of the bowl.  See picture.
The idea is that you see the layers of kiwi slices through the glass, so you have to be a little fussy about placement.  Putting the kiwi in place before you plop on the other layers keeps it all neater.
Layer fruit next, then a layer of pudding, then a layer of whipped cream.
Now do another repeat of the same layers…cake, sherry, jam, kiwi, fruit, pudding, whipped cream.  Depending on the size of your bowl you might get a third repeat, but my bowl holds 2 sets.

On top of the last layer of whipped cream, arrange fruit slices in a decorative pattern.

Chill for at least 2 hours, then serve.  You can make this earlier in the day as well.  If you make it the day before, things get a little soggy, and the whipped cream doesn’t hold up as well.

You can vary this by using different fruit, different jam, flavor your cream, etc. I’ve seen variations that use chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, etc.  If you’re not feeding the whole neighborhood, obviously you can cut this back and do it in a smaller bowl.  The leftovers are great for breakfast, though, and people will eat more of this than you think.  Even after devouring about twelve pounds of prime rib, we ate two-thirds of this bowl last night.

If you were Martha, you would make your pudding from scratch instead of a mix, and would make real pound cake yourself instead of buying it.  It’s good even with the shortcuts, though. There were grown people standing around the bowl just digging in with spoons by the end of the party.


There you go. I’m getting back to work.

About Lorette

My name is Lorette. I learned to knit in 1999, and took up spinning in 2009. I'm a physician specializing in internal medicine, and live in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy my blog!


Solstice Time, or Trifle Recipe — 2 Comments

  1. I love the image you left us with: “grown people standing around the bowl just digging in with spoons by the end of the party”.