Desserts! Trifles on the Fly

Who wants to go home for coffee and dessert? That’s a typical question when out with friends right? Desserts at home can be as tasty as many restaurants and in a more relaxing environment people can settle in quietly and talk. However, you want to be sure to have the ingredients for desserts readily available so you don’t feel annoyed at your partner for asking without checking first. It happens as many of you know. I was so relieved finding out that raspberries and blueberries can be frozen for up to a year. Just freeze in the proper containers and they will thaw quickly when it’s time for use. They are a necessity for trifles on the fly.


Ladyfingers are a type of biscuit. They were created in the 15th century as part of the exquisite cuisine presented to the King of France during his visit. They can be frozen in the original unopened package or double wrapped in freezer wrap and tin foil to keep them fresh for a few months.

The other key ingredient to the classic Trifle is whipped cream for layering. Cool Whip is the thing to have on hand. It is safe to freeze and retains proper consistency. It lasts about 3 – 4 months frozen. As we all know whipped topping is an item easy to consume so there’s never a danger of its going to waste.

Whipped Cream and Vanilla Custard with Fruit Compote
Whipped Cream and Vanilla Custard with Fruit Compote

Since we’re talking desserts ‘on the fly’, you may be thinking the custard could be a challenge. At least it used to be, but fear not! There are much more natural tasting store-bought brands that keep their ingredients rather pure, such as Meadow Fresh Vanilla Custard. It works perfectly in a pinch!

Mango Trifle with Chocolate
Mango and Ice Cream Trifle with Chocolate

As you can guess, Trifles are made simply by layering whipped cream on the bottom of a glass cup or goblet with ladyfingers (cut bite-sized) and vanilla custard spooned on top then fruit layered across the ladyfingers and custard and then layered with more whipped cream. It is the hosts’ choice to repeat layering. If you do you should not add too much to your first layers. It is usually too much for guests to finish.  It only requires one to two ladyfingers per serving. You will want to use glass when serving this dessert. Its presentation is a big part of its appeal. Seeing layer upon layer makes the dessert more exciting.

Traditional English Trifles call for the ingredients listed above but people have added their own touches over the years. It’s a great opportunity to be creative with your desserts

I try to offer alternatives to my guests. For instance, it never hurts to have ice cream on hand with some fruit topping. A half gallon of Neapolitan solves the flavor issue. I know it seems like digging trenches when serving ice cream to die-hard chocolate lovers, but sooner or later the strawberry fanatic will come. Even layering a few tablespoons of ice cream over a piece of pound cake (which can also be double wrapped and frozen) with whipped topping and fruit is a fun second choice to the Trifle. More of a second cousin actually. You can step out of the box and add your own touches to the Trifle.

I have not found many people that have objected to Trifles. If someone preferred another dessert it was due to dietary restrictions. Let’s not forget sugar-free. It is becoming quite popular due to the invention of more natural sugar substitutes. So Tally Ho! Enjoy.

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