Not A Mere Trifle

I have temporarily relocated back to London.  I am here to take Tom back to university – sadly, Tom isn’t here until Friday because he and George are in Ibiza celebrating a friend’s 21st.  The best laid plans, etc., etc.  I arrived this morning and have already acquired a new hearing aid, been to the dentist, visited the community centre where I was a director in a previous life, and had dinner with such family as is here.  I fell asleep at the dentist and so am feeling quite perky which is a bit of a surprise given my usual state the day after I spend the night on a plane.

I am particularly appreciating the lack of humidity.  The last few days in New York have been quite oppressive, leading to me wishing fervently for a storm because the pressure gave me a huge headache.  The UK in the sun is lovely, and the garden is looking wonderful.  The colours are amazing and I realise how much I miss this.  It is great to see the family again.  I miss them all hugely.  I am blessed with four fantastic sons, and last year when Andrew married Hallie we gained a wonderful daughter-in-law.

Now Hallie’s birthday was on Saturday – I didn’t forget – the present was already in London and we Skyped on our Saturday morning.  I was the first person to point out that she was 31 on the 31st (which I thought was funny).  However, I did forget to do a recipe for Hallie, and I am gutted.  My only excuse is that we had visitors and I was being rushed out of the house to take them shopping.  Now that I am in one place I can focus on Hallie’s recipe.  First though, I want to say one thing to her – thank you for making Andrew so content, so happy.  We joke that Andrew brought Hallie over here from the States and in return the States got Dad and me.  Hallie, I know how hard it has been for Dad and me to start over, and it must have been equally as difficult for you.  I would just like to say that Andrew chose well and we are delighted that you are our daughter-in-law.

Hallie is a great fan of The Great British Bake Off and this week was dessert week, and included the classic English trifle.  I cannot begin to top the advice and knowledge of Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood, so I would like today’s recipe to be a regional variation.  Almost inevitably with my heritage this region is Scotland!   A few weeks ago, I did a baking course through Le Pain Quotidien in New York, where we were all discussing our backgrounds.  One lady was delighted to find that I am Scottish and asked me if I had ever eaten Tipsy Laird.  I had never even heard of it.  She told me that her great aunt used to make this Scottish form of trifle and together we googled a recipe.  Scottish raspberries are famed throughout the world, and Papa always said that the best came from Blairgowrie in Perthshire.   He also said that raspberries need some cold to have real flavour.  Anyway, we looked through the various recipes for Tipsy Laird, and I had to laugh at the statement in one that this was traditionally served on Burns Night (January 25th) and includes fresh Scottish raspberries.  Believe me, there isn’t a whole heap of anything growing in January in Scotland!  From the conversations with the lady on the course and from looking at various recipes, this is how I will make it.

Tipsy Laird – Ingredients

  • 300 g / 10 oz trifle sponges or slightly stale plain cake
  • 300 g / 10 oz fresh raspberries
  • 6 tbsp whisky or Drambuie (Hallie, you can use less alcohol and I think you will prefer the sweeter Drambuie)
  • 500 ml / 1 pt custard (home-made is best but if you buy ready made make sure it’s good quality)
  • 500 ml / 1 pt double cream, softly whipped with 1 tsp icing sugar
  • Flaked almonds


Use a glass bowl – it always looks pretty.  Line the bottom of the bowl with the trifle sponges.  Sprinkle the alcohol over the sponge.  (At this point if you wish you can put raspberry jelly over the sponges).

Put the raspberries on top of the sponges (or jelly).  Pour the cool custard over the raspberries.  Allow to set before putting the cream on top of the custard.  Decorate with the flaked almonds – I think I would roast the almonds because the slightly darker colour will look better.  An alternative would be to sprinkle dark chocolate flakes on the cream.  I love the combination of raspberries and dark chocolate.


2 thoughts on “Not A Mere Trifle

  1. I was late to enjoying trifle due my my dislike of jelly but years on when it wasn’t compulsory to use it, I LOVE it and have in fact made this unknowingly! I toasted oats as well as almonds to decorate x

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