My mother has her own way of making trifle that is a little bit different from the traditional recipes I've seen, but it means that to me, this is traditional. If I go with the lady fingers and the custard then suddenly it's not really trifle for me anymore. British food scholars, if such a thing exists, will disagree with me. But when they try this easy and delicious version that my mother concocted, I think they might change their ways.
There are three major elements to this trifle that will determine how easy or hard this recipe will be - the cake, the cream, and the pudding. If you choose to buy all three, this is one of the easiest desserts you will ever make. In my case, I chose to make just one - the whipped cream (by whipping together 1 cup heavy cream, 2 teaspoons sugar, and half a teaspoon of vanilla until thick) - because I couldn't face the hydrogenated oils and whatnot that are in pre-made whipped cream. If you want to make the pound cake from scratch, there are a lot of easy recipes out there. Same for the pudding. But I'll be honest with you - if you use an Entenmann's pound cake and Jell-O pudding mix, no one will judge you.
So this is how the Williams family makes trifle (with varying fruit selections - I chose to go with all cherries). See what you think.
3 cups frozen cherries (not thawed)
1 loaf of pound cake, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup cherry preserves (the good stuff)
1 ounce dry sherry
1 1/2 cups whipped cream (more or less is fine)
1 1/2 cups vanilla pudding, not quite set yet
1. In a large glass bowl (preferably a trifle bowl as picture above, but any glass bowl will do), assemble the trifle in layers. First, put in about a third of the cherries in the bottom. Top with a single layer of pound cake slices, each slice spread with jam. Drizzle half the sherry over the pound cake.
2. Repeat with another third of the cherries, another layer of cake spread with jam, and drizzle with the sherry. (You may have some pound cake left over - don't force it in there, you just want two single layers - though a bit of overlap is okay.) Top with the last of the cherries.
3. Spread a layer of whipped cream (homemade is best - see headnotes) over the top layer of cherries. When vanilla pudding is starting to set, but not completely set yet, carefully pour it over the whipped cream to create a top layer.
4. Note: if you made the pudding on the stove top try to let it cool most of the way before doing this, or the whipped cream will get melty and peek up through the pudding. This is what happened to me - oops. But it still tasted fantastic.
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least an hour. Serve cold.
Enjoy a Williams family tradition!