On the Eighth Day of Christmas – Book 2

On the eighth day of Christmas On the Tudor Trail gave to me the chance to win your choice of book from Claire Ridgway’s history collection! Click here to browse her wonderful collection.

To be in the running to win this book, leave a comment after this post.

Conditions of Entry

For your chance to win one of Claire Ridgway’s books, you must be subscribed to On the Tudor Trail’s newsletter (if you are not already, sign up on our homepage where it says ‘Free Enewsletter Subscription’).

Then simply leave a comment after this post between now and 31 December 2017. Don’t forget to leave your name and a contact email. Please note that I have comment moderation activated and need to ‘approve’ comments before they appear. There is no need to submit your comment twice.

This giveaway is open internationally.

One winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email shortly after the competition closes. Please ensure you’ve added natalie@onthetudortrail.com to your address book to avoid missing my email.

Good luck!

Find Out More

A Christmas Trifle

By Claire Ridgway

Thank you to Natalie for inviting me to be part of her 12 Days of Christmas Mega Book Giveaway, it’s wonderful to be a part of this. I thought I’d share with you today one of my favourite family Christmas traditions: the Christmas trifle.

When I was growing up, we always had the traditional British Christmas dinner – turkey with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding and brandy sauce – and I was always too full to enjoy the spread that my mum would lay out in the evening. There was no way I could manage cheese, ham, quiche, sandwiches, pies, sausage rolls, salad…. But, as you will know, every British person has an extra stomach, we have a ‘pudding tummy’. However full we are of savoury dishes, we can generally manage a sweet treat. One minute we are saying how ‘stuffed’ we are and that we won’t be able to eat for at least a week, and then as we spot the dessert menu or someone wafts a yummy pudding in front of us we suddenly experience new hunger pangs. One tummy is full but the pudding tummy is empty and hungry. My pudding tummy was always ready and waiting for my mum’s trifle! I’d ignore the rest of the spread and head straight for the Christmas trifle, that would be my tea, I didn’t need anything else.

“What is a trifle?”, you may ask. Well, this trifle certainly is not “a thing of little value or importance” (one definition of the word), this “trifle” is “a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream” (Google dictionary). It’s a traditional British pud. The bottom layer tends to be sponge, and this is either soaked in sherry or a fruity jelly (jello) which can be fruit flavoured or have fruit, such as strawberries, raspberries or slices of peach, mixed into it. When the jelly is set, or the sponges have soaked up the sherry, a layer of custard is poured over. Finally, the dessert is topped with whipped cream and decorated with sprinkles. My mum’s tended to be a strawberry or raspberry one, and my favourite layer was always the fruity sponge at the bottom – delicious!

Although these days you can find trifle recipes using panettone or chocolate brownies soaked in various liqueurs, and there are so many twists on the traditional British trifle, Christmas isn’t Christmas for me without the sort of trifle my mum made. It’s simple, it’s light, and it’s yummy. It’s easy to find recipes for traditional British trifles via Google, but here’s what I do:

  1. Line the bottom of a large glass serving bowl with trifle sponges or pieces of sponge cake. It doesn’t matter if the sponge cake is slightly stale and this is a good way of using up a left-over sponge cake, muffins, Madeira cake or magdalenas.
  2. Optional: Pour a little sherry over the sponges and allow to soak in.
  3. Make up the jelly (jello) from cubes or crystals.
  4. Optional: Scatter sponges with fruit – you could use sliced bananas, tinned fruit cocktail, tinned peaches, raspberries, strawberries… whatever you like.
  5. Pour jelly over the sponges (and fruit). Leave to cool and then refrigerate until set.
  6. Make custard however you usually make it – from a packet, from custard powder, or using milk/cream, egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla. Google “custard recipe” if you need to. Allow to cool. You can cover the custard with cling-film while it cools. This is supposed to prevent a skin from forming but if a skin forms then you just whip it back into the custard.
  7. Pour cooled custard over set jelly.
  8. Whip up some double cream – You can whip in a little icing sugar to sweeten it if you like. Whip it until it holds its shape (soft peaks).
  9. Spoon the cream over the custard layer.
  10. Decorate with multi-coloured sprinkles, crushed biscuits, candied fruit, anything you like – this was my job as a child, I used lots of sprinkles!
  11. Chill until use.
  12. Prepare your pudding tummy and enjoy.

Trivia: The Christmas trifle that I describe above is not a typical Tudor recipe, but it does come from desserts that were served in Tudor times. For example, Gervase Markham’s Tudor recipe for a Norfolk Fool comprised layers of fine manchet bread and a cream and egg yolk mixture (a custard) spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and in the Stuart recipe “Elizabeth Cromwell’s fool”, Elizabeth Cromwell used a bottom layer of bread soaked in sherry. It appears to have been the forerunner of our sherry trifle. I made a Tudor style fool, and while it wasn’t as light as my mum’s trifle, it was rather nice!


Related posts:



  1. Agnes Szabo says:

    What a chance! 🙂

  2. Bonnie Malmat says:

    Count me in, please.

  3. barbara strippel says:

    My 90 year old mum loves this type of book

    • Hello Barbara, I have tried to contact you several times via email but have not yet heard back from you. Unfortunately, I will have to redraw this prize if I don’t hear from you by Friday 12 January, 2018. Sorry!

  4. Shaun Heathcote says:

    on this day in tudor history looks fascinating

  5. Sarah Robertson says:

    Just had a look through the books, the Tudor Places book looks interesting!

  6. Laura Jeffs says:

    Please count me in!!

  7. Love trifle my favourite pud

  8. Tom Baines says:

    looks interesting

  9. Certainly sounds delicious to me. I would love to read more.

  10. Nell Steed says:

    Oh I love Trifle !! Thanks for the recipe ! … And the book ” Tudor places of Great Britain ” sounds really good.

  11. Sally Hill says:

    I just had a look at her collection, and there are some fascinating looking books there!!!

  12. Nicole Stanfield Caile says:

    I know it’s odd but would love her “Sweating Sickness” book! I am a bit morbid and it sounds like an interesting read!

  13. Margaret Lewis says:

    “On this day in Tudor history” appeals to my tastes.

  14. Denise Ash says:

    Claire is one of my favorite authors. Thanks for this opportunity!!!

  15. Thank you for this chance!

  16. The Fall Of Anne Boleyn looks very interesting.
    I’m a trifle fan too.

  17. Rich Tyler says:


  18. Hester McQueen says:

    ON this Day in Tudor History please

  19. What a fab author and a lovely chance.

  20. Audrey Tebbs says:

    Thank you for the chance to win this book

  21. Rebecca Brown says:

    Wow, it’d be so hard to choose! (Also, I love trifle!)

  22. Clive Howe says:

    Great prize, really not sure what I would choose.

  23. Michael Griffin says:

    Original cooking

  24. Georgina Saunt says:

    I make trifle like my mum does too! Nothing beats it!

  25. Rebecca Howells says:

    looks an interesting read

  26. Would love one of the books about Tudor Places of Great Britain 🙂

  27. Lesley Walsh says:

    ‘On This Day in Tudor History’ would be a great book for me in my volunteering at The Vyne (National Trust) a tudor house as I could seem very knowledgeable to the visitors!

  28. I love Claire’s books

  29. Carol Bell says:


  30. Interesting! I’ll have to try the recipe!

  31. I love triffle , I never even herd about it when I moved to the UK from Switzerland 20 years ago and now it’s one of my favourites to make and eat. I would choose Sweating Sickness: In a Nutshell if I was the lucky winner

  32. Great collection of books, and trifle!

  33. CAROL PATTRICK says:

    On This Day in Tudor History, would be my choice please. I love learning and reading about the Tudors, I find this period of history fascinating

  34. champaklal lad says:

    great prize

  35. nice collection! Love the Tudor Day book (first one)

  36. Heather Allen says:

    I would love one of her books!

  37. Deanna Guadagno says:

    I love her books! Pick me:)

  38. Long been a fan of Claire and her site and books.The recipe looks lovely.

  39. Yes please

  40. Cool!

  41. Amelia Lawrence says:

    Wow! Obviously any of the Boleyn books would be great!

  42. The trifle sounds delicious! I looked through your collection of books and the Illusrated Kings and Queens of England looks wonderful.

  43. Yes, please.

  44. Yummy trifle, my fav

  45. Glad to see someone wrote about George Boleyn – although I’d have a hard time choosing ONE book from her fabulous collection. I hadn’t heard of her before this, but favorited her author page on Amazon and will be looking into her work in more detail!

  46. Omg i would have the hardest time choosing just 1!!! Guess I’ll have to add get books to my must read!!

  47. I live in the Pacific Time zone USA – if I’m too late on entering this one, I understand

  48. Rachael Dickson says:

    On this Day in Tudor History sounds really fun!

  49. Would love to read one of her books!

  50. Rachel Colclough says:

    Yes please

Leave a Comment