Easy Strawberry Trifle

Chocolate and strawberries are traditional Valentine’s Day desserts, so here’s an easy strawberry trifle to make if you are craving something light, fruity and not too sweet – and it’s much better than my low-fat chocolate brownie disaster.  As an added plus, it’s not so much made as assembled, requiring only three ingredients, cake, instant custard and strawberries.

Strawberry trifle

Grocery store strawberries are not so good this time of year in Canada, so I mixed them with some strawberry freezer jam from last summer.   (Click here for blog link).   As I use No Sugar Pectin in my freezer jam, it’s more of a strawberry puree than a sweet jam, but you can also mush up the strawberries and add sugar to taste.   

Strawberries For the cake you can use those mini golden cakes from the grocery store or angel food cake, but I had some leftover cake which had been in the freezer for awhile but when thawed it was just as fresh as the day I made it. 

The last time I made this dessert I used French vanilla pudding cups, but this time I decided to use the more traditional custard.   I bought a package of instant custard from The British Shop, a brand recommended by the owner as I figured the British must know their custards (she also told me last year the shop spent $20,000 on import fees).Custard

Just add 360ml of BOILING Water and stir for a minute and Voila – a nice and creamy custard.   (Next time I might add a teaspoon of Vanilla extract as it was fairly bland). 

As I’ve just spent a fairly productive week cleaning out the basement storage areas and reorganizing things, including some old family heirlooms and crystal, I decided to use my  grandmother’s parfait glasses.   

Crystal glasses

I never met my grandmother as my dad’s parents both died before I was born, but I’ve often wondered what her life was like.   She married in 1919 and as an older mom had her kids at 37, 40 and 41 and died fairly young at age 65, after breaking a hip.   So it’s possible these glasses are a hundred years old – maybe they were part of her wedding trousseau?   My mother said they were in the old farmhouse when she got married in 1952.    Or they may even have been from my great grandmother Ellen farther back in 1900, part of a  collection of crystal from the Edwardian age, of which I have several pieces.   I remember my mother using the matching glasses at family dinners along with her good china, but they are so thin and delicate they require hand-washing.   There are only seven parfait glasses left, plus two with small handles which look like they might be hot toddy glasses.   Anyway, I felt they deserved an outing sometime this century!

I crumbled the cake in the bottom, then layered the strawberries and custard, then cake again (I could have used more cake), custard and more strawberries on top.   You can also garnish with whipped cream and a strawberry, but I ran out of room.      

Strawberry trifle

The parfait glasses seem tiny, so I suspect portion sizes were smaller back in the days of Downton Abbey.    The same with plates – compare this new red Rachel Ray plate to the older pink plate from the thrift shop.    

Pink and red plates

The same with supersized restaurant plates.   While it’s customary to want to fill your plate, maybe that isn’t such a good idea anymore? 

This makes a nice light dessert after a big meal.   There’s something to be said for moderation and family tradition, and strawberries in the middle of winter!  

Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS.  For those of you who are mad for plaid like I am, the plaid charger plates are from Michael’s craft store, after Christmas sale – $1.50 each vs regular $8.        (600 words) 

Pink plates and Valendtine's Day

22 thoughts on “Easy Strawberry Trifle

  1. Debbie says:

    Mmm…I love trifle! And yes, Bird’s custard is pretty good… beautiful plating, too, J–although something as tasty as trifle could be served in a bucket and I’d still think it was stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      It was very good Debbie…..I wish the portions had been a bit larger! I may try it again with some frozen peaches and peach jam. I’m happy to know that Bird’s custard is authentic – I like shopping at The British Shop.


  2. Jo Shafer says:

    Why, Joni! You just gave me a lovely idea for tonight’s dessert following a special “Date Night” Cilantro Shrimp Pasta. Much better than chocolate, I agree, although I could serve the custard and strawberry jam over a chocolate brownie. Just to be a bit decadent on Valentine’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindasschaub says:

    This looks delicious and so festive Joni. I don’t believe I have ever had trifle and I do like custard. When I was a kid my father had an ulcer and had to eat desserts that were easy on the stomach, so we had plenty of custard but I’ve not had it for years since then. I also like the glasses and what a difference in plate sizes that you have shown us. I like the smaller, daintier plate better I think, though I always like your red and plaid plates.

    Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, she used to make it from scratch and used to use half and half for his ulcer – it was very good, but rich. I’ve not had custard in ages. I think I have seen it in the refrigerated section as individual custard flans. I should try it. I buy rice pudding and tapioca pudding in the individual servings and I think I’ve seen it there. I like pudding.


      • Joni says:

        That sounds interesting. I’ve been eating rice pudding lately too – it’s good warmed in the microwave with raisins added and a bit of brown sugard – almost like homemade.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Anne says:

    What a delight to the eye! I think hauling out those old glasses is a wonderful idea – my philosophy is use what one has otherwise what is the point of keeping them – for they make this dessert look extra special. Using smaller plates is a good idea too. For the past year I have been using the smaller plates (I think they are known as fish plates) instead of the ‘normal’ size ones: I find my servings are naturally smaller and satisfying enough. I think we feel we have to fill the larger plates …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I have more family crystal in the basement which should get an airing too. It’s true the smaller plates and portions are just as satisfying. I bought the pink ones at the thrift shop last year, as they were so pretty and I couldn’t imagine someone giving them away. Not a complete set but enough, and a $1 a plate who could resist. I have a similar blue set, also from the thrift shop, which happens to match a teapot and teacups I already had. Both probably from estate sales, kids don’t want that kind of china anymore.


  5. J P says:

    Looks delicious! I had no idea that there was such a thing as instant custard. We have never made the real stuff, and this looks so easy. I am kind of meh on strawberries but cherries or raspberries would make this a top ten, from the looks of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      If you have a British or imported grocery store nearby they may have it – I believe they also had it already prepared in cans too. I’ve never noticed it in our regular grocery store. I thought I’d retry it with some peach jam and peaches I froze last year.


  6. annieasksyou says:

    Looks great, Joanie, and I enjoyed the brief history of the parfait glasses. Absolutely, use what you have; it’s nice to have those family pieces.

    We have just about every ethnic offering available, but I’ve yet to see anything British apart from Cadbury’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      The British Shoppe is an interesting place, lots of British candy and candy bars and biscuits etc, as well as some cute teapots and china etc. I did see the Bird’s custard powder in a can in our regular grocery story today but upon reading the ingredients it said it was just cornstarch, and needed milk and preparation versus the instant custard. There might be other brands though custard isn’t a very population thing anymore.


    • Joni says:

      Thanks Denise – it’s an easy dessert, you could put the cool whip on the top! I have lots more ancient family crystal just sitting in boxes in the basement – I might pull out a decanter and some small glasses for St. Patrick’s Day, last used probably a hundred years ago.


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