well if it isn't the jolly english yummynummy pudding: the trifle!! An English Trifle makes a fabulous dessert at any festive occasion or holiday dinner (not to mention an unusual plot device in Little White Lies). The "Hunnechurch Family Trifle" is a classic, made with authentic ingredients. It serves 8-10. A trifle is both a high carb and high fat dessert, so it is not an everyday dish (don't even think about dieting or cholesterol when you serve it up). However, as Pippa explains in Little White Lies: "Generations of Brits have aged gracefully on diets of fatty roast beef and trifle." It's suprisingly easy to make a classic trifle. To quote Chloe Hunnechurch-Parker, "you assemble it in a large, elegant glass bowl." You can use a glass trifle bowl, a punch bowl, or even a salad bowl. (Ron and Janet Benrey use a trifle bowl that cost $12. It measures about nine inches in diameter and six inches deep.) Main Ingredients Pound cake or sponge cake — two one-pound loaves Raspberry preserves — 8-ounce jar Raspberry syrup — 8-ounce jar Macaroons or Amaretti cookies — a handful, finely crushed Slivered almonds — 4 tablespoons Chopped candied fruit — 1/2 cup Dessert sherry — 4 tablespoons (more if you prefer) Custard Eggs, two whole eggs, plus two egg yokes Whole milk — 1 pint Sugar — 1/4 cup Vanilla extract — 1 teaspoon Whipped Cream Heavy whipping cream — 8 ounces Sugar — 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract — 1/8 teaspoon Start by making small "sandwiches" of cake and raspberry jam. Each sandwich should measure roughly two-inches square and perhaps an inch thick. Line the trifle bowl with a layer of cake-and-jam sandwiches, leaving about 1/16 of space between each. Sprinkle finely crushed macaroons and slivered almonds on top. Add bits of candied fruit for color. Add a second, similarly spaced, layer of cake-and-jam sandwiches — this layer running in a different direction than the first. Sprinkle more crushed macaroons and slivered almonds. Top off with a third layer of cake-and-jam sandwiches. Moisten the cake-and-jam sandwiches with raspberry syrup and four tablespoons of dessert sherry. The photo, left, is what the "initial assembly" will look like. Do not worry about uniformity or neatness! Make custard in a heavy saucepan. Start by beating four egg yolks and two egg whites together. In another saucepan, heat one pint of milk and one quarter cup of sugar almost to the boiling point. Slowly trickle the hot milk into the beaten eggs, stirring constantly over low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not let the mixture overheat, or you will make a pot full of scrambled eggs. Add one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to the thickened custard. Pour the still-warm custard over the cake-and-jam sandwiches. As shown in the photo, right, the custard will fill the nooks and crannies between adjacent sandwiches. In effect, the flowing custard "ties together" the other trifle ingredients. When the custard has cooled to lukewarm, place the trifle bowl in the refrigerator to cool. Top the chilled trifle with freshly whipped cream. Whip eight ounces of heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon of sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract. Decorate with almond slivers nuts and bits of candied fruit. You can vary the ingredients as your imagination guides you. Some cooks add fruit (peaches are especially nice). Others add chocolate to the custard. Still others use rum or brandy instead of sherry. The most difficult part of making a trifle is preparing the custard. And so, Brits often use Bird's Dessert Custard instead. (Bird's is packaged, egg-free, custard available in many U.S. "gourmet" shops and international food aisles. It is similar to packaged custard mixes you'll find in any supermarket.) BUT, to experience a classic British trifle, take the trouble to make real custard!