Guest Chick Monday: Nan Dixon gives us Just a Trifle

Please welcome Nan Dixon,  a two-time Golden Heart finalist and a self-confessed contest junkie.  Her heroines spend a lot of time in the kitchen and therefore so do her heroes.  If Nan’s not typing on her laptop, she’s usually in her kitchen or watching the Food Network.   Nan lives in Minnesota and writes contemporary romance, and has fabulous taste in naming her heroines.  😉

Just a Trifle

One of my favorite desserts that my British mother taught me to create is trifle.  Trifle is the traditional dessert for Christmas Eve in our house.  So when I created Abigail, the heroine in SAVANNAH SIGHS, my 2011 Golden Heart© finalist novel, I made her a chef at the family bed and breakfast.  She creates fabulous desserts for the afternoon teas held at the B&B.  Of course, when Abby makes trifle – she makes 6 at a time.  I’ve only ever done 2 in one setting.  I do lighten up on the Sherry for my kids.


Here’s what you need:

Ladyfingers (If you can’t find them – I use Angel food cake)

Dry Sherry  (not cooking sherry – it contains salt)

Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding

8 oz – Jam – I use my homemade Raspberry jam

Whipping cream

Optional fresh fruit – Strawberries or raspberries

Decorative sugars – colored

A glass trifle dish – or other dish that will show off the layers

What To Do:

Layer the bottom of your dish with Ladyfingers or angel food cake

Sprinkle about a teaspoon (or more) of Sherry on the layer.

Adding the Jam

Spread the jam on top of the ladyfingers

Cook the vanilla pudding, but eliminate about a quarter of a cup of milk.  Follow the directions on the package for cooking.  Before it is finished cooking, add a slosh of sherry.

Pour the pudding over the ladyfingers and jam.

Cover loosely (so the steam escapes) and chill.

If you would like to add a layer of fresh strawberries or raspberries, this is where you would add them once the pudding has cooled.  Since I am allergic to them – I don’t.

Prepare whipping cream.  I throw my bowl and beaters in the freezer just to keep them cold.  Once peaks start to form slowly, add sugar by the teaspoon until sweet (to your taste).  Then – you guessed it – add sherry.

The Finished TrifleSpread the whipping cream over the chilled trifle.  Decorate with colorful sugars.  For Christmas, I use red and green, Easter –pastels, whatever I have on hand.  They will melt into the whipping cream.

When serving — dip into all layers.  Enjoy.



28 thoughts on “Guest Chick Monday: Nan Dixon gives us Just a Trifle

    • Thanks for stopping by Kimberley.

      It took a while to find lady fingers, so I used to make my own sponge cake or just use angel food cake. That’s the beauty of this recipe. It can taste different each time you make it.

  1. Nan, thanks so much for stopping by! My mom makes a trifle, but it doesn’t look nearly as tasty as this one. I don’t think she uses jam in hers, and I can just taste the raspberries from yours.

    …and you need to put up your recipe for the homemade jam, too. What were you thinking, mentioning it and not telling us how to make it????

    • Hey Abigail – and yes what a great name!
      My sister tried this one and also says hers is different. (Of course, I believe mine is better.) She uses triple berries. But since I’m allergic to uncook berries, the jam is my solution. Somehow when heated, the enzeme my body reacts to breaks down.
      I make freezer jam, so the recipe is in the Sur Gel packages. Really easy and I don’t have to do all the boiling. As a matter of fact, one of my daughter’s is giving away the jam as a wedding favor this year. We made over a 100 jars last year and need to make more once the raspberries start blooming in the garden.

    • Thanks for stopping by Greta –
      Yup. Whatever I can find — is my motto in the kitchen. Sometimes that philosophy makes for some interesting combinations in the kitchen.
      Several years ago a Byerly’s grocery store moved in. Finally, I could get some of the more unusual items to cook or bake. And they are the only store near my house to have actual loose tea, instead of teabags. The joys of brewed tea. Sigh….

      • Oh yeah. Some of the combinations scare the hubby. This weekend, I wanted to make tuna salad, but no mayo. Instead my daughter and I added sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, black olives, balsamic vinegar and roasted red peppers. OMG, I will make it again. Delicious – and healthy.

  2. Hi Nan!
    I LOVE trifle. We have recipes for vanilla/fruit and chocolate versions but yours sounds scrumptious — the jam and the sherry sound like key ingredients to me! I’m envious of your love for cooking, I don’t do much. Baking on the the other hand … But what’s that you said? Lots of sugar–how can it not (be) wonderful? That’s MY motto in the kitchen 🙂 Thanks for the recipe and congrats again on your second GH final. Here’s to Savannah Sighs being one of many Nan Dixon books we find on the shelves soon.

  3. Howdy Liz! Sugar is my weakness! Luckily – not chocolate – or I’d be so much wider! I find it’s wonderful to let my characters do all the work. Then I can live vicariously through them — without the calories.

    Thanks for the congrats and can’t wait for NYC.

    • I need to do something with the masses of raspberries that my bushes produce. (Sometimes the look like a bramble patch.) Since I can’t eat the berries fresh – jam seems to be the ticket. Allergies are such a pain. But the rest of the family love all the berries.

      • Tee Hee. I think about paying $4 for a pint of raspberries at the store – and we give away pounds of the stuff. Can’t pick them fast enough when they start coming in. The year the deer chewed on them over the winter- I had my best berries ever. And I live in suburbia. We’re not supposed to have deer wandering through our yards.

  4. Nan, congratulations on your Golden Heart final! Good luck in NY!!!

    I’ve never made a trifle, but this looks so yummy and relatively easy. Could I substitute instant pudding minus some of the milk and add a tbsp. of sherry in place of the cook & serve?

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