a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream
The Lady of the House came home from the thrift store with a large glass bowl attached to a glass pedestal. She was very excited about it and said it was a trifle bowl.
I had heard of trifle before. I’d probably first encountered it in books set in the 1940s and/or 1950s. More recently, I’d seen trifle on Food Network’s competition show Chopped. (I really like Chopped. I can watch one episode after another for hours.) On a special celebrity episode of Chopped, I saw a woman (either Carnie Wilson or Gillian Vigman, I can’t remember which) make a trifle in honor of her mother who made them a lot when she (the celebrity) was a kid.
I’d never eaten trifle though.
The Lady of the House had eaten trifle made by her husband’s aunt. The aunt makes them whenever her household hosts a family gathering. The Lady started talking of a dessert made with layers of chocolate cake and chocolate pudding and Cool Whip and Heath bar. I was in!
The Lady had recently bought Girl Scout Cookies from Girl Scouts selling in front of a grocery store. Instead of Heath bar, I suggested, what about crushed up Thin Mints? Everybody in the house was excited by that idea.
The trifle bowl stayed empty for several weeks while life kept The Lady busy.
One Sunday morning, The Lady gave The Boy the choice of baking a chocolate cake or helping with yard work. He chose baking the chocolate cake, and the preparation of the trifle was begun. (I got to help with yard work.)
After preparing the chocolate cake from a mix and getting the batter into the oven, The Boy also whipped up a big bowl of chocolate pudding. When we got in from the yard, the cake was cooling, and the pudding was chilling in the fridge. After a few hours, the layering was ready to begin.
First, cake was crumbled into the bottom of the trifle bowl. Next, chocolate pudding was layered on top of the cake. Then Cool Whip was spread on top of the pudding.
Finally, crushed Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies were sprinkled on top of the Cool Whip.
After all the layers were added, the trifle was covered in cling wrap and left to chill in the refrigerator. The trifle becomes tastier as it gets colder and as the the flavors meld together. It’s better to let the trifle sit in the refrigerator at least overnight, but that requires extreme willpower.
The trifle was absolutely delicious. Because the cake basically absorbs the pudding, the dessert is very moist. (If your cake ever comes out of the oven too dry, you can save the dessert by using the cake in a trifle.) The Thin Mints gave the trifle very subtle minty undertones, not at all overwhelming. The cookies too became very moist and didn’t offer any crunch. That was good for my tooth problems, but folks who really want a crunch would do better with Heath bars or some other candy that won’t soften. I personally would have liked a little more Cool Whip (I am a huge whipped cream fan), so if I were going to make a trifle, I’d use two tubs of Cool Whip or a couple (three?) cans of real whipped cream.
The trifle was one of the best desserts ever!
I took all the photos in this post.