This very special dessert is really not much more than cake, fruit, pudding and cream. There are many variations on it, some of which have alcohol and some (the true British trifle, I have read) use a gelatin-based liquid so that the trifle sets up with the fruit suspended.
My version is, I suppose, an Americanized version, but it was delicious, and very special, nevertheless. I opted to not use alcohol, but if you want to dress it up, just add a few tablespoons of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur to the strawberries -- it will be very grown up! I used a store bakery pound cake and it was delicious and, of course, could not have been easier. The next time you have pound cake leftover, just freeze it and pull it out for a lovely dish of trifle. I assembled mine in pretty crystal glasses, but for a crowd, use a pretty, deep glass or crystal bowl.
We celebrated the feast of St. David of Wales with this special dessert, but it would be appropriate (and much appreciated!) for any Welsh, Scottish or English saint's feast day. The recipe for custard makes more than you need for this recipe, but it's what I use. I never have trouble getting rid of leftovers. ;-)
1 small pound cake (about small 10 slices)
1 quart strawberries, cleaned and diced*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
3 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
2 t. pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 c. powdered sugar
Place strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Stir, cover and let sit at room temperature for several hours. If using alcohol, add two tablespoons orange liqueur to strawberries.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in milk, mixing until ingredients are dissolved. Whisk in egg yolks.Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble appears. Reduce heat to low; continue to whisk, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and immediately pour through sieve into bowl; stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.
When custard is cool and strawberries have produced quite a bit of juice, whip cream and assemble trifle.
In a mixing bowl place whipping cream and begin whipping at high speed. Gradually add powdered sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
In either 6 to 8 small dishes or one deep dish, place a small amount of strawberries and juice in bottom. Break up cake and drop in juice, either half a piece in each cup or several pieces in large bowl. Spread half the pudding over cake (reserving the rest for another purpose), dividing up evenly among cups or placing all of it in bowl. Spread remaining strawberries and juice over pudding. Break up remaining cake over strawberries and top with whippied cream.
Chill until ready to serve.
* Any fresh fruit can be used.