Nanny’s English Trifle

Nanny’s English Trifle
Courtney Smith Pulire: President & CMO

English Trifle has been a Christmas dessert staple in my family for generations. My English grandmother, "Nanny," brought this with her when she immigrated to the United States in 1946 with my grandfather, who was an American soldier.

The beauty of English trifle is it can be your own creation based on your favorite fruit, flavor
of Jell-O, pudding, and sponge cake. It is a truly "guiltless" dessert, or at least it feels that way because it is so airy and light--especially after a heavy Christmas dinner, or, say, paired with a delicious dinner of Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding.


  • 1 pkg. strawberry or raspberry Jell-O
  • 1 pkg. vanilla or lemon pudding
  • 1 or 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1 pkg. 10 oz. frozen strawberries
  • Loaf of pound cake or packaged lady fingers
  • Port or sherry drizzle
  • Sliced pears
  • Heavy cream
  • Fresh fruit on top
  • Walnuts chopped (optional)



Make Jell-O and pudding according to package directions and keep in refrigerator until firm. When firm, layer cut up pound cake on the bottom of the bowl.  Sprinkle with sherry. On top of this, spoon on defrosted strawberries and fresh or canned pears. Then take the bowl of firm pudding, blend the pudding and layer it on top of the strawberries and the pears.

Add a layer of sliced bananas. Then take the bowl of Jell-O, mix it up and layer it on top of bananas. Then a layer of sliced fresh strawberries, you can also add blueberries and/or raspberries. Then whip the cream with a little sugar and mound it on top. Decorate with fresh fruit and the ground walnuts.

Place in refrigerator for up to a day to set the dessert. Scoop and serve in small bowls or compotes.

This is one in a series of posts about our new project, called The Table—a cookbook full of favorite recipes, and the images and stories that go with them, from each member of the Brandtatorship team. From breakfasts to entrées, desserts to cocktails, we’ll be unveiling a new recipe every other week through the end of the year. So pull up a chair. We’re glad to have you. 

Photo credit: Rich Brainerd Studios