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Rachel’s Traditional English Trifle Recipe

If you’re hosting a Friends-themed Friendsgiving dinner then it’s an absolute must that you make Rachel’s Traditional English Trifle for dessert! I mean, “Jam? Good! Custard? Good! Meat? GOOD!”

Rachel’s Traditional English Trifle

A few years ago, my fellow Friends-fan and friend, Lauren, flew down to visit and we threw a Friends-themed Friendsgiving Party with foods specific to the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. And yes, we made Rachel’s famous Traditional English Trifle … the traditional way: with the beef sautéed with peas and onions.

I made Rachel’s Traditional English Trifle the … traditional … way with the beef, onions, and peas because I was doing a photoshoot for Food Network. 

Here’s how Rachel describes her Traditional English Trifle:

“First, there’s a layer of lady fingers, then a layer of jam, then custard, which I made from scratch, then raspberries, more ladyfingers, then beef sautéed with peas and onions, more custard, and then bananas, and then I just put some whipped cream on top!” 

Yes, making it the traditional way like Rachel and I did does, in fact, “taste like feet!”

I highly recommend that if you make this for your Friendsgiving (and you want it to be edible) to swap out the beef, onions, and peas and replace them with crumbled chocolate wafer cookies or crumbled brownies, green M&Ms, and purple chocolate balls or Good & Plenty’s.

More tips: 

Ladyfingers can be challenging to find (at least here in Los Angles), so either order ladyfingers online in advance, make your own from scratch, or make it easier on yourself and swap them out for some thin slices of pound cake like I did.

And while you’re at it, if you’re cooking the entire dinner/party (instead of hosting it potluck style), don’t make the custard from scratch like Rachel, instead make it easier on yourself and just use a box mix of vanilla pie filling or this custard thickener instead!

The full, printable recipe is below, but first, here are the ingredients. I don’t include measurements, because I don’t know how large your specific trifle bowl is; however, I do include a minimum of how much you should plan to have on hand so you’re not short and maybe just plan to have some leftovers.

Ingredients: 

  • 1-2 packages of ladyfingers or 1 frozen poundcake
  • 1 jar raspberry preserves
  • 2-3 cups custard (I used vanilla pie filling box mix and milk)
  • 2 packs of raspberries
  • 1 lb beef
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 red onion or frozen onion
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1-2 bananas
  • whipped cream or Cool Whip

Optional swaps for the beef sautéed with peas and onions:

If you’re making your own whipped cream (which I always recommend), here’s the ingredients: 

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract

And if you need a trifle dish, here’s a few I found online: 

How to make Rachel’s Traditional English Trifle: 

If you’re using frozen pound cake, make sure it’s defrosted and slice it into rectangles. Set aside.

Next, make your custard by your method of choice – from scratch like Rachel, using this custard thickener, or simply using a box mix of vanilla pie filling (like I did). Once made, set aside in the refrigerator.

If you’re making homemade whipped cream, add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla to a bowl and whip on medium-high in your stand mixer or with a hand-mixer until peaks forms. Once made, set aside in the refrigerator.

Next, clean your raspberries and set aside.

If you’re sautéing some beef with peas and onions, do it now, but … I wouldn’t if I were you!

Then arrange your ladyfingers or poundcake slices around the outside of the trifle bowl and a few in the middle. In between them, add some raspberry preserves. 

Then add a layer of custard and top it with a layer of fresh raspberries.

Next, if you didn’t listen to my warnings, add your beef sautéed with peas and onions … or your cookie/brownie and candy swaps of choice.

Add another layer of custard.

Then top with whipped cream, banana slices around the edge, and heap some raspberries in the middle.

Looking for more Friends-themed Friendsgiving inspiration? Check out my Friends-themed posts: 

Trifle bowl filled with ladyfingers, raspberry jam, custard, beef sauteed with peas and onions, whipped cream, bananas, and raspberries.

Rachel's Traditional English Trifle

Ingredients

  • 1-2 packages of ladyfingers or 1 frozen poundcake
  • 1 jar raspberry preserves
  • 2-3 cups custard (I used vanilla pie filling box mix and milk)
  • 2 packs of raspberries
  • 1 lb beef
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 red onion or frozen onion
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1-2 bananas
  • whipped cream or Cool Whip

Optional swaps for the beef sautéed with peas and onions:

  • Chocolate wafer cookies OR brownies (Use a box brownie mix plus the eggs and oil)
  • Green M&Ms
  • Purple chocolate balls OR Good & Plenty (if you like the flavor of licorice)

If you're making your own whipped cream (which I always recommend), here's the ingredients:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract

Instructions

    1. If you're using frozen pound cake, make sure it's defrosted and slice it into rectangles. Set aside.
    2. Next, make your custard by your method of choice - from scratch like Rachel, using this custard thickener, or simply using a box mix of vanilla pie filling (like I did). Once made, set aside in the refrigerator.
    3. If you're making homemade whipped cream, add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla to a bowl and whip on medium-high in your stand mixer or with a hand-mixer until peaks forms. Once made, set aside in the refrigerator.
    4. Next, clean your raspberries and set aside.
    5. If you're sautéing some beef with peas and onions, do it now, but ... I wouldn't if I were you!
    6. Then arrange your ladyfingers or poundcake slices around the outside of the trifle bowl and a few in the middle. In between them, add some raspberry preserves. 
    7. Then add a layer of custard and top it with a layer of fresh raspberries.
    8. Next, if you didn't listen to my warnings, add your beef sautéed with peas and onions ... or your cookie/brownie and candy swaps of choice.
    9. Add another layer of custard.
    10. Then top with whipped cream, banana slices around the edge, and heap some raspberries in the middle.

Looking for more Thanksgiving inspo? Look no further than right here: 

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