Strawberry trifle is the perfect fancy dessert for any dinner party. It's beautiful, yet so easy to make. You'll for sure impress all guests with this amazing dessert that can feed a crowd.
You can make this strawberry trifle recipe for so many occasions, like: Christmas, New Years Eve, Valentines day, Easter, dinner party, you name it... I just love this strawberry trifle SO MUCH!!! I know I'm a dessert lover, but this trifle is simply over the top delicious!! Here are a few reasons why I like it so much:
- It has a beautiful presentation; perfect for the holidays, party, gathering or, really, any occasion that you would like to impress;
- The freshness of the strawberries, the amazing flavor of the custard, the fluffiness of the whipped cream and the crunchiness of the meringue cookies make for the perfect combination;
- It's sweet, but not overly sweet;
- It feels light and fresh;
- It's super easy to make. Trust me, it looks fancy, but it's very simple;
- It feeds a crowd;
- Can be halved and also made in individual portions, for a small gathering.
Did I convince you to try it?? I hope so, because this recipe is a true winner!
What is a trifle?
Trifle is a very traditional English dessert, so good that now is well known all over the world.
Traditionally, it consists of layers of custard, cake (soaked in wine), fresh fruit, whipped cream and sometimes jelly (equivalent to jello in US), served in a footed trifle bowl.
Now, over the years, as it became more popular, people around the world started to adapt trifles to make it easier to be made in their countries, and also to fit their personal preferences.
For our strawberry trifle I added a little Brazilian twist, as I used condensed milk in the custard, and meringue cookies instead of cake. Trust me, this combo is amazing!!!
Ingredients and possible substitutions
Strawberries: For this trifle I chose strawberries, but you can definitely use many other fruits like, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and the list goes on...
Custard: Traditional custards use a lot of egg yolks and sugar, but for this special custard I put a little Brazilian twist. I reduced the amount of egg yolks and instead of sugar I used condensed milk. The condensed milk helps sweetening the custard while adding body and flavor to it. You can substitute it for vanilla pudding if you prefer, but trust me, this custard is amazing!
Whipped Cream: Heavy whipping cream (36% fat and higher) is the best option to whip for this recipe, because the higher the fat content, the better it will hold its shape. Regular whipping cream also works, but it tends to become soft faster than the heavy one. If you live in the US, you could substitute it for Cool Whip (thawed).
Meringue Cookies: Store bought meringue cookies may seem a little dry to be eaten by itself, but in this recipe, it's the perfect addition. If for any reason you want/need to make a substitution, ladyfingers or pieces of cake are good alternatives.
How to Make Strawberry Trifle
- Slice enough strawberries to place around the bowl, set aside a few whole strawberries for decoration and chop the rest, setting aside in a colander, covered with plastic wrap.
- Cook custard and let it cool (see instructions on section below).
- Crush meringue cookies into big pieces.
- Whip heavy whipping cream with powdered sugar, until stiff peaks are formed.
- Assemble and decorate the trifle. Keep it in the fridge until it's time to serve.
How to make the Custard
How to Assemble the trifle
Use Heavy Whipping cream if possible. Because of its high fat content it won't deflate so quickly.
Another tip is to use very cold heavy whipping cream, keeping it in the fridge until it's time to whip. You can also place the metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes. When things are cold the heavy cream emulsifies faster and stays emulsified longer.
I also strongly suggest using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, because the small amount of cornstarch in it helps stabilizing the cream.
Sieving the egg yolks will help preventing egg odor in your custard.
Break the meringue cookies into big chunks. If they are too small you won't be able to feel them in the dessert.
What can I use if I don't have a trifle bowl?
I think trifle bowl is a great thing to have in your kitchen, because it makes for a great presentation for trifles, puddings, salads, layered dips, deconstructed cakes, layered Jell-O, and many other things. But, if you don't have it, you could use any big glass bowl, salad bowl, wide glass vase, lasagna dish, or even a clear plastic container.
How long will the trifle last in the fridge?
Strawberry trifle can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. Just keep in mind that because strawberries release water and whipped cream deflates, it will be more runny as the time passes by.
Can strawberry trifle be made the day before?
You can get some of the steps done the day before.
For exemple, you can chop the strawberries and store them in a container in the fridge. Next day, drain it and use it in the recipe.
You can crush your meringue cookies, and keep it in a airtight container, in a cupboard.
You can also cook the custard, and keep it stored in a closed container, in the fridge, with plastic wrap touching the whole surface of the custard.
Leave the whipped cream and assembling for the day you're going to eat it, preferably 1-3 hours before serving, so you'll be able to feel better all the delicious layers of the trifle.
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- 42 oz strawberries (1.2 Kg)
- 4 oz meringue cookies (115 g)
For the Custard
- 16.9 fl. oz milk (500 ml)
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (396g / 14oz)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Whipped Cream
- 16 fl. oz. heavy whipping cream (450 ml)
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar (80g)
For the strawberries
- Slice enough strawberries to place around your bowl (see photo 2 in section "how to assemble the trifle, for reference) and leave a few whole to use for decoration (I used about 12, but that's up to you). Set them aside, covered, in the fridge. Cut the rest of the strawberries into smaller pieces, and place them in a colander, with a bowl underneath, to hold all the liquid that will be released. Place it in the fridge, covered, until it's time to assemble the trifle.
For the custard
- In a medium saucepan, with the heat off, add milk, cornstarch, sweetened condensed milk and whisk to combine. Add the egg yolks, sieving it first, to remove the membrane, chalaza and any egg whites remaining; whisk to combine. 1
- Turn on the medium heat, and cook it until it boils, whisking constantly. Let it boil for about 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Add vanilla, keep whisking to combine, and transfer the custard to a bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap, touching the entire surface of the custard, and take it to the fridge to cool off completely.
For the whipped cream
- Using an electric mixer, mix powdered sugar and heavy cream, starting on low speed and increasing gradually to high speed2. Beat until it's thick and stiff peaks form. To make sure that the peaks are stiff and not soft, you can hold the whisk upside down. If the peak holds its shape and doesn't colapse, it's stiff. Don't beat for too long beyond this point, or your whipped cream may start to become butter.
To Assemble the Trifle
- Inside your bowl, make a layer using half of the custard.
- Place the sliced strawberries against the walls of the bowl, and then fill the center with half of the chopped strawberries (drain them well first)3.
- Set aside a few whole meringue cookies for decoration. Break the rest into big chunks, and spread half of it on top of the strawberries.
- Spread half of the whipped cream over the cookies, making a even layer.
- Repeat all layers once again, finishing with the whipped cream layer and decorate as you wish.
- Sieving the egg yolks will help preventing egg odor in your custard.
- Use Heavy Whipping cream if possible. Because of its high fat content it won't deflate so quickly. Also, use very cold heavy whipping cream, keeping it in the fridge until it's time to whip. You can also place the metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes. When things are cold the heavy cream emulsifies faster and stays emulsified longer.
- Don't use the liquid drained from the strawberries in this recipe, otherwise the dessert will be too runny.
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