A trifle is a dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or, more recently, jelly (gelatin), and whipped cream.
These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.
Some trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions use fruit juice instead, as the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake.
A trifle is often used for decoration as well as taste, incorporating the bright, layered colours of the fruit, jelly, jam, and the contrast of the creamy yellow custard and white cream.
Trifles are often served at Christmas time, sometimes as a lighter alternative to the much denser Christmas pudding.