Really Important, Life changing Problem with Trifle!!!

25 Replies

Hello everyone, I've been trying to make trifle.....any English ladies who now live in France out there???? Fruit and cake are easy....Jelly I get from Marks and sparks... But the big problem is the cream...the whipping cream that is....what on earth is it called in france?? I can speak reasonable French and have tried several times in various supermarkets...brought loads of pots of various stuff...but it never whips up thick. I can buy a really thick cream from a local farm  ie ready made... but the "life" is quite short and it's quite expensive. Anyone have any suggestions on this important subject?? Forever grateful....Lionel

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lolla-92437 1433752132

If you like a thick cream marscapone works quite well...or for a sweet cream squirty cream works well, and we too get some thick creme from a farmers market and although expensive worth it and the trifle is always gone in a flash ! Dont forget the sprinkles and my mother in law (82) says a trife isn't a trifle without a cut up banana !! 

Tigger-459388 1433753773


You can't get the equivalent of English Double Cream in France.  The whipping cream in France has a lower fat content.  However, it does whip; you need to ask for Crème Liquide. Use a cold bowl.

Alternatively, Creme Fraîche is nice, but different, in that it has a soured taste like a very mild sour cream.  Personally, I prefer it, as trifle can be incredibly sweet.  I dislike squirty cream, but you may like it.  We all have different tastes, thank Goodness :-)

Lionel Spencer-Ward 1433771673

Hi lollo,

       Marscapone is an Italian cheese isn't it?  Never tasted it...but would have imagined it's more cheesy than creamy?

My daughter does not like bananas....her mother is French and I'm English ...which probably accounts for the confusion....

Thanks for the reply


Lionel Spencer-Ward 1433772246

 Hi Tigger



I've tried whipping Creme Fraîche but never really got it to a really thick state.

I'll ask for Crème Liquide and see if that works...thanks


Squirty cream seems to be mostly real flavour and seems to disappear..sort of evaporates quite quickly... I've used it once..looked quite good to start but definately does not last long.


Thanks for the reply


lolla-92437 1433794625

Marscapone tastes much like thick double cream I dont find it at all cheesy - nice on a tin of peaches too if we are going all 1970's !!!! You can try to whip creme liquide but it does usually take a lot of effort ! There are companies that deliver cream to france ( clotted - yum) so may be worth it for a very special occasion - have you asked M&S if they can stock it to go with the jelly !

franc 91 1433840834

I have a copy of Angela Wilkes's Children's Quick and Easy Cookbook together with the French edition. For the topping she uses double cream that she whips either with a whisk or an electric mixer until it is thick, but not completely stiff. In the French version - the trifle is translated as une diplomate - Fouette la crème épaisse de la garniture au fouet ou au mixer pour l'épaissir sans qu'elle devienne trop dure. In another recipe book that I have in both languages they also talk about heavy cream (crème fraîche) which is put into a large chilled bowl,  whipped until it thickens slightly. Add two tablespoons of superfine sugar and continue to beat until the cream is stiff enough to form unwavering peaks on the beater when it is lifted out of the bowl. You smooth half of the whipped cream over the surface of the custard with a wooden spatula. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large rose tip (une poche à grande douille dentelée) pipe the remaining whipped cream decoratively round the edge. The layer of custard must be froide et ferme, before you add the cream topping.

Lionel Spencer-Ward 1433844946

Hi franc 91

I've tried a Diplomate aux poires ,une charlotte en quelque sorte. Avec la "custard" fait à l'ancienne... that is from scratch. Casser les oeufs, ajouter le sucre semoule et la farine. Faire bouillir le lait avec la moitié du sucre vanillé et verser en filet sur la préparation aux oeufs en fouettant constamment. Verser dans la casserole et tourner quelques minutes sur feu doux le temps que la crème épaississe. It's very nice.....but not the same

 I've tried “crème fraîche”'s a lot of work and it doesn't get hard.


 PS...if the 91 in your name is your department...we're neighbours! (77)

Lionel Spencer-Ward 1433845944

Hi lolla,

 “have you asked M&S if they can stock it to go with the jelly”

This is exactly the way my thoughts are going.

 They do not have it at M&S So Ouest Levallois-Perret nor at M&S Champs-Élysées.

 So I was going to try M&S Aéroville near Charles de Gaulle airport.

 I will give them a ring and let you know the results


franc 91 1433851747

Perhaps if you could find a proper traditional crèmerie or you might even have one in your local market, they could supply you with crème épaisse. In certain village markets in for example the Cotentin (Normandie) they only sell butter and cream and some suppliers do go to markets in the Ile de France. A good sign is when you see large mottes de beurre on their stalls and when they serve you, they use a wire with wooden handles at each end to cut out pieces of butter.

PS I live on the western edge of the 91 next to the 78 (Vallée de Chevreuse), not at all near the 77.

Tigger-459388 1433878002

Hi Lionel.  I wouldn't whip Crème fraîche because, at the best, it'll get very smooth and at the worst it'll break down.  Crème liquide will definitely whip, I have clients who will attest to it.  As aforementioned, cold bowl, straight from the fridge and whip fast.  I use a hand whisk because I hate washing up, but an electric whisk does not make it taste any different :-)

Marscapone is technically a cheese but, as has already been attested, it is like a very soft and rich cream.  It is used in Tiramisu and it does not taste of cheese.  It will be richer and denser than whipped cream.  Also, you may want to sweeten it a little but it will definitley work in a trifle (Do not whip it :-).  Do not use the low fat version, if taste is important to you.  I use marscapone in my panna cotta, because that tiny bit of acidity is always welcome.

Some people use squirty cream but the fact that my respect for others does not allow me to write further about it, should tell you how I feel.

I make my trifle out of blackcurants and, home-made, blackcurrant & Cremant de Bourgogne jelly.  I soak the sponge (I use Italian sponge fingers) in Crème de Cassis.  It is nothing like a traditional trifle (Sprinkles may not be allowed to enter my kitchen).  My custard is a real home-made Créme Anglaise, but I make it slightly firmer, so that it can hold itself up - but only just.  Something like a good, soft, Crème Brûlée.  It's not at all jelly-like.  You could do the same with blueberries, blackberries, or other fruits (Strawberrries do not work for me, but that's me :-).  I make them individually in cocktail glasses and, suddenly a simple trifle becomes Haute Cuisine.  The French love them.

Bon Appètit.

Tigger-459388 1433878268

I have just noticed that I have openly disagreed with franc 91, as far as whipping crème fraîche is concerned.  No offence was intended.  I've just never needed to and I have been able to break down crème fraîche, when beating it.  However, franc obviously speaks from his experience and, therefore, his opinion will be worth considering.

lolla-92437 1433880153

Oh Tigger that sound tres posh ! I know what I shall be making this weekend with blueberries and not a sprinkle or plastic squirty cream in sight !!! Thank you ever so for the idea ! 

Lionel Spencer-Ward 1433957591

Hi Everyone,

 Well it seems that the problem is solved....I telephoned M&S Aéroville near Charles de Gaulle airport and they assure me that they do indeed stock English Double Cream.

As they are just 25 kms from me I'm going to take a wander over there and hopefully stock up on the absolute necessities of life like... brown sauce, pickled onions, branston pickle, and of course.... double cream!

 Thanks everybody for the input and ideas....


Tigger-459388 1433964562

Well, there's some information for all of us.  Thanks Lionel.  I live in Montmarte; so, it's close.

Lolla have fun with your trifle and just make it your own.  The variations are endless and here's one that can be really nice, if you don't want it to be too sweet.  Make a trifle but use a lemon jelly (home-made) and for the custard use a recipe from a Lemon crème Brûlée, Use Crème Fraîche to replace the cream and you've got a nice sweet but sharp end to a meal.  Make your individual trifles in shot glasses and you've got really pretty amuses bouches (canapés) for the end of a cocktail party.

lolla-92437 1433972987

Yum Tigger, just had lemon meringue pie tonight (my fav ! ) so lemon trifle sounds super ! Thankyou !

etnerahc 1434236753

The high fat content Normandie cream that comes in small red cartons can be whipped, it needs to be cooled first.

Tigger-459388 1434265727

Bon Appétit.  :-)

Tigger-459388 1434265915

A quick piece of useless information.  In Italian, the word "Trifle" translates as "Zuppa Inglese"  or English Soup.

Lionel Spencer-Ward 1434272642

Makes you wonder who did the original translation.......

 Someone who was insisting that “Queen Victoria was a very fine man” ...perhaps?

pacco 1435833370


To whip french cream it has to be really cold. Place your mixing bowl and cream in the fridge, once really cold whip by hand.

mrobin 1437421078


I'd really like to get the recipe for trifle...tried it once from a recipe on the internet and it was a disaster...


Many thanks,



franc 91 1437430477

Good evening. I think that there are as many recipes for trifle as there are families who make them. Would you like it in English or French ? 

(PS Yes I agree with whoever said that if you wish to beat cream to make it firm, it must be very very cold. One method for this is to place a mixing bowl of the cream inside a bigger bowl filled with ice cubes so that the ice chills the cream but isn't in direct contact with it.)

Roquefort-91810 1437496250

Mary Berry's recipes never fail, give hers a try!

Gail-90056 1438013268

Hi Lionel

Marks & Spencer sell whipping cream and double cream ,the cream here wont stay firm for very long .

The British cream is the best .

barbie-72522 1438014548

the english shop in chantilly sells cream and double cream from the UK

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