Just a 'trifle' Tipsy!

Believe me. There's absolutely nothing 'trifle' about this Tipsy! Its big, its heavy, its loaded and it is certainly not for any weight watcher. Not getting the drift? Tipsy Pudding is probably the lesser known name of the very traditional English Trifle. It’s also called Diplomat Pudding, Tipsy Parson, Creole trifle, Tipsy Laird, Bizcocho Borracho, the list could go on. It all depends on who’s feeding you the pudding. The foundation is the same – sponge cake moistened with alcohol, layered with jams or fruit, and topped with either custard or whipped cream or both (yum yum!!).

Don't make the mistake of calling it fruit salad or fruit custard in front of a purist (me!). You probably won't get away without getting reprimanded (nothing wrong with fruit custard, I personally love the humble yet delicious dessert but an English Trifle is an English Trifle). It is probably one of the easiest desserts you can ever make and actually take the credit for! Buy everything, assemble the ingredients in whichever order you prefer, and serve with a flourish; who’ll ever know? ;)

It seems it was also known as a ‘foole’ or ‘fool’ before it evolved into the trifle. Huh? Fool? Trifle? Not flattering names are they? But what’s in a name? The English love their desserts (and so do we!), the Victorians loved the trifle, English clubs served them, the Ritz has it on their menu and it’s held in reverence by the NDA cadets!

It is very hard to trace what was the original English Trifle, as so many different variations of it are seen in different books throughout the history. Here's what I found in a 1988 article of the The New York Times (by Rita D Jacobs - FARE OF THE COUNTRY; English Trifle: Serious Dessert) -

...as early as 1598 an Oxford-educated translator, John Florio, referred to (the pudding) ''A kinde of clouted creame called a foole or a trifle in English.'' ...

Fredrick Bishop (in his 1852 book, The Wife's Own Book of Cookery) actually described the pudding in the form of a poem.

Cover the bottom of the dish with Naples biscuits, and macaroons broken in halves,
wet with brandy and white wine poured over them,
cover them with patches of raspberry jam ,
fill the dish with a good custard, then whip up a syllabub,
drain the froth on a sieve, put it on the custard and strew comfits over all.

So here’s my version of the pudding. There’s no point in giving a recipe as you can put almost anything you like (as long as it is sweet!) in layers in a cut glass bowl. There’s jelly, fruit crush, fruits, cake...See if you can identify the layers!

PS - Here are two links for those who wanted to delve deeper into the trifle's history!


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