For those who don't know it, trifle is the English answer to Tiramisu. Often served at Christmas or for an al fresco desert in the summer. This isn't a recipe as such, more a look at the principle.
The bottom layer is composed of sponge cake, usually soaked in sherry or desert wine. You could sub this for martini, or wine with a dash of cointreu or cassis. Then one might add a layer of jelly, then custard, and then whipped cream.
However, you make a sensational bottom layer as follows:
Boil some fruit in about 2 glasses of sherry. If you have something in the fruit bowl that is beginning to look doubtful, that is ideal. Anything like apricots, peaches, berries, pears or citrus. If you don't own rotting fruit, you can use this as the chance to clear out that half pack of frozen raspberries in the fridge. Or even used tinned fruit. You get the picture.
The fruit and the sherry will make a rich, tart flavour. If you live near a turkish supermarket, now would the a good time to add some pomegranite syrup, to really heighten the rich, slighly sour flavour.
Sprinkle some gelatine powder into the syrup, disolve and pour into the bottom of a bowl.
Now you can put some old cake or cookies to use. The classic is a sponge cake that has gone dry, but you can also use a fruit cake, madeira, dry muffins, or even chocolate cake.
Crumble the cake into the syrup mixture. Depending on the look and feel you are going for, either mix it in full, so that you have one spongey, fruity mass, or layer it like a lasagne. I favour the mono-mass myself. You can sweeten this mass with sugar, but I like the sweetness to come from the next layer, so I leave it fairly tart.
Now pour over the custard. These days the supermarkets are full of very lovely creamy vanilla desert sauces, which you can use. There's no real need to make your own custard, although that can be fun.
Put the bowl in the fridge. Before serving, whip some cream, pour that over the top, and sprinkle with nuts or chocolate, or some of the more respectable looking fruit you might have salvaged.
Serve with a smile, knowing you have confected a delight from some decidedly second rate leftovers. Perversely, the more rotten the fruit, and the more dry the cake, the better the trifle.