I visited my daughters in California. I made it through TSA with little difficulty except for the bottle of Himalayan salt that got flagged in my carry-on. It was x-rayed and tested. They let me proceed.

Now is the time to water glass eggs if your hens are producing. I have two dozen to store as soon as I finish here.

Have you had a galette? I impressed my friends when we went out for lunch and I ordered a mushroom galette. We all had a good laugh when I told them I had only seen pictures of galettes and had to research how to say it before we met! Galette is a French cuisine word describing a flat round freeform cake, pie or crepe. I had a similar experience with an English dish called trifle. I was intrigued by footed clear trifle bowls so I wanted to make the dessert to use the bowl. I thought the pictures of trifles were beautiful.

Trifles appear in cookbooks dating back to the 1500s. The word trifle originates from the old French term “trufle” which means of little consequence. This layered dessert popularized in England consists of three layers — sponge cake often soaked in alcohol, egg custard and fruit topped with whipped cream. The English utilized this dish to recreate a dessert with stale cake. The English brought this dessert with them when relocating to America and it became extremely popular in the South. The late 1800s were the heyday for trifles. That explains my fascination. My favorite time period is the Victorian era with all the extravagances of the day and the elegant table settings. By the early 1900s there was a plethora of trifle receipts (Old English word for recipe). American author Oliver Wendall Holmes even wrote about this dessert stating, “The most wonderful object of domestic art called trifle with its charming confusion of cream and cake and almonds and jam and jelly and wine and cinnamon and froth.”

Trifles are the perfect dessert to make the day before your event. To create a delicious trifle, it should chill at least eight hours allowing the flavors to meld. Be sure to cover tightly with plastic wrap. A footed trifle bowl is the traditional way to serve it making an elegant presentation but if you don’t have one, a large glass dish will suffice. Trifles could also be served in individual glasses. There will be at least three layers in a trifle and the layers may be repeated as many times as your bowl will allow.

As I said in a previous column, I could have used my tough angel food cake to make a trifle. I have collected several trifle receipts over the years. Angel food cake would be great in a strawberry trifle with an amaretto custard. My favorite one to make is a chocolate trifle. Since I only make this once a year, I use ingredients that I normally would not eat. Chocolate pudding made from scratch would work in this as would real whipped cream instead of frozen whipped topping. I make my own brownies but a boxed mix would do just fine or even chocolate cake. A trifle is not exact — throw caution to the wind and make a layered dessert. Feel free to add chocolate chunks, toffee bits, crumbled up Oreos or even strawberries to the receipt below. Oh, don’t forget to use a trifle bowl!

Since April 2020, Julie Donahue shares her love of cooking with our readers. She enjoys preparing homecooked meals and baking from scratch. As a retired teacher, she teaches homemaking skills such as sewing and cooking to others.

Chocolate Trifle

1 recipe of brownies

1 10-12 ounce jar of caramel topping

1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1/2 cup water

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (12 ounce) container of French vanilla frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 Hershey milk chocolate bar, refrigerated or frozen

Bailey’s Irish Cream Whiskey, optional

Prepare brownies and cool.

Cut brownies into approximate 1 inch squares.

In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water, sweetened condensed milk and Bailey’s Irish Cream Whiskey (optional) mixing until smooth.

Fold in 8 ounces of whipped topping until no streaks remain.

In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half the brownies.

Pour half of the caramel sauce over the brownies.

Then smooth half the pudding mixture on top of the brownies.

Use half of the French vanilla whipped topping for the third layer.


Shave cold/frozen chocolate bar onto top layer for garnish.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate eight hours before serving.

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