St. Patrick’s Day: Mr.CBB’s Custard Coffee Cookie Trifle

Custard Coffee Cookie Trifle

I made this Custard Coffee Cookie Trifle in single serve glasses mainly because I really wanted English custard and because I thought it would be unique to serve as an ending to a good meal. Since today is  St. Paddy’s Day I thought I would green up my custard dessert to celebrate the festivities.

Tonight we are having green beer (I just add food colouring) as our beverage of choice and on the menu we have crock-pot Beef stew. I may even try my hand at making homemade soda bread which seems easy enough. We do need something to soak up all the fine juices in the stew.

I’m not Irish but I am British and both cultures love custard, in fact I grew up with traditional English Custard being a go-to easy dessert recipe for my mum when she wanted custard to add to her cakes , bread pudding or simply having custard and fruit to end a meal. ( I know I was lucky, I admit it)

St. Patrick’s Day


“Saint Patrick’s Day or the feast of St.Patrick is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on March 17th to signify the arrival of Christianity in Ireland”. Green is where it’s at with parties and parades celebrated across the land. The day was named after Saint Patrick a well-known patron saint of Ireland. You can learn more about St. Patrick’s Day history by clicking on the link in this post above as there really is lots of culture behind this recognized holiday.


St. Patrick’s Day In The UK


We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in the UK when I lived there mainly with traditional Irish food and green beer at the pubs with my friends while dressed in silly green outfits. There was always fun to be had especially at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in London UK, Trafalgar Square which in those days was a non-stop drink til you drop festival worthy of a big fry up the next morning.

I’m sure nothing has changed. I remember one year we played pass the shamrock and every time you had the shamrock you either had to kiss the person you gave it to or donate a dollar into the pot of gold for charity.


Custard Coffee Cookie Trifle


Today I have for you a custard coffee cookie trifle which I layered in large wine glasses so they are single serve for your guests. You can eat them about 1 hour after you prepare them or even better the next day. I used thick Italian lady finger cookies and soaked them in a good instant coffee or you can use espresso if you desire a much bolder taste.

I also had some shortbread cookies in the freezer that we made and pulsed them in the food processor to a crumb. If you don’t have homemade shortbread you can simply buy it but shortbread is not difficult at all to make.

Delia Smith English Custard

How Do You Make Custard? 


This custard recipe is not my own as Delia Smith has captured my heart with her Traditional English Custard Recipe. I have her entire set of cookbooks and she is one chef that can make the most difficult recipe seem so easy.

The only problem is that in Canada I can’t find double cream which is 48% milk fat. I realized that we have some pretty high fat cream in the UK and it’s no wonder I crave the depth of the dairy products back home which I can’t find here. The best I could find for this recipe was whipping cream at 35% milk fat so I figured that’s what I’m going to use.

My friend Beth from Aunt B’s Kitchen says she also uses evaporated milk so I’ll give that a try as well as single cream which I think will work perfectly fine. I also didn’t have a vanilla pod but certainly would have used on if I did and is easily available at the local Bulk Barn shop.

I simply used a high quality pure vanilla which is perfectly fine. I also can’t find castor sugar in Canada so I used a granulated sugar and whizzed it in the food processor to make it a bit finer in texture. I could have also used half brown and half granulated and done the same as a substitute.

The green in the trifle comes from the egg whites that I had after I used the egg yolks in the custard recipe. I simply whipped them into a meringue then added green food colour, baked it for about 7 minutes, cooled it and boy did it ever look spectacular. At the top I added a bit of freshly ground nutmeg and shaved some milk chocolate to finish off this trifle. I know you will absolutely enjoy this recipe if you love coffee and custard like I do!


Custard Coffee Cookie Trifle Recipe


Serves: 2 large wine Glasses or 4 med glasses

English Custard Ingredients


  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate bar shaved for garnish
  • Fresh nutmeg for garnish
  • 1 carton of Whipping Cream 500 ml  or 1 pint 570 ml  of Double Cream (Delia Smith)
  • 2 tablespoons pure Vanilla Extract or 1 Vanilla Pod (Delia Smith)
  • 6 large Egg Yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch or 1 dessertspoon cornflour (Delia Smith)
  • 2 oz granulated sugar whirled in the food processor to make it super fine  or golden Castor Sugar (Delia Smith)
  • 20 Lady Finger Cookies (thick ones)
  • 1 cup of instant coffee black with 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 cup of crushed shortbread cookies

Meringue Ingredients

  • 6 Egg Whites
  • Green Food Color
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice for meringue
  • 1 cup granulated or fine sugar for meringue

English Custard Ingredients In Bowl

Custard Process: 

  • In a bowl separate the yolks and the egg whites
  • Put your cream in a small pot or sauce pan along with the vanilla (if using a vanilla pod split in half , scoop out the seeds and put it all in the cream including the pod) and heat on low
  • While the cream is heating in another bowl add the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch (cornflour) and whisk
  • Once the cream is nice and hot remove the vanilla pod if you used one
  • Take the cream off the stove top and with the whisk in one hand whisk the egg yolk mixture and slowly start adding the cream. I add a little bit at a time so the hot mixture doesn’t curdle the egg. Then I add all the rest of the egg yolk mix in constantly whisking the mixture then put it back on the stove immediately.
  • Keep the custard mixture on a low heat mixing until it becomes a thick custard  at the simmering point (don’t walk away) keep whisking.
  • Pour the custard in a bowl and top with cling wrap so it doesn’t form a film at the top
  • You can serve the custard hot or cold but Delia says if you want to serve it warm later put the bowl of custard on top of a pot of simmering water and warm it up. This would be considered a double boiler.

Simmer Custard Until Thick


  • In a stainless bowl or mixer beat your egg whites and lemon juice until it forms soft peaks then add in the sugar little at a time until it is silky. 
  • Add in the green food colour until you reach the desired green shade you prefer and mix
  • Add the egg whites to a non-stick cake pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned like it would be on a lemon meringue pie. You are just looking to cook the egg whites and warm them through but don’t over cook them, just a simple browning.
  • Remove from oven, stir it again until it’s nice and smooth and let cool 10 minutes

Putting It All Together

  • Cut your lady fingers into 2 inch pieces and dip or pour coffee over top to completely saturate them in coffee. Handle them gently and only cover 5 cookies at a time enough for each layer as they will get soggy if you try to do them all at once. 
  • In the bottom of your wine glass add some of the shortbread crumbs
  • Add in a layer of the meringue
  • Add in a layer of the custard
  • Add 5 more lady fingers coated in coffee and repeat ending at the top with meringue
  • Add some chocolate shavings and freshly ground nutmeg
  • Refrigerate until serving and enjoy

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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Mr. CBB who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, moved to Canada where he is now a permanent resident. He is also a father to a very active 3 year old boy which keeps him young at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 in the UK after graduating University and his second at age 24. Mrs. CBB bought her first house at the age of 30. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are 40-ish year-old finance lovers who accomplished debt freedom before the age of 40. Canadian Budget Binder is a fun, family-friendly place where he shares their financial journey with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. No silver-spoon just hard work and perseverance. Welcome to Canadian Budget Binder! You've got this!


  1. Does your green beer feel more Irish with the food coloring?
    I normally try to just pick the ones in the green bottles when I go Irish.

  2. Supposedly Pittsburgh has the second largest St. Patty’s day celebration in the states. At least that’s what the local news was bragging the other night. They’ve tried to reign in the drinking in the streets the past couple of years. This year they had barricaded drinking squares to…protect the children? Maybe? I don’t take my kids out on drinking holidays, so I wouldn’t know. :p

    Trafalgar Square, though. That would be quite the experience. Again, the kiddos wouldn’t be in tow, but I would mind seeing it myself!

  3. What a pretty treat! Honestly, I would probably never take the time to make it, but I love the idea of serving in a wine glass. Do you think Jello instant pudding would work just as well? I’m kidding. I know you’d never stoop to that level.

  4. That looks so good! I wish I could say I did something fun an exciting, but I didn’t. I am eating asparagus tonight, so that’s green right? 🙂 I need to lay off the sugar for awhile!

  5. Donna R @ says:

    Castor sugar is simply superfine sugar. You can purchase it at the BulkBarn in Ontario. It is very easy to make your own by putting regular table sugar into the blender or Magic Bullet and giving it a whirl. The idea is that smaller granules will dissolve and disperse more evenly. Once again, this recipe looks like a winner. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.

    • Yes that is what I did in the recipe. I mentioned that I gave it a whirl in the processor. I didn’t know they had it at the bulk barn though. See I’ll have to look for that now. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  6. Christine Weadick says:

    The trifle looks good!!! I’m not one for coffee flavouring but I wonder if you could use chocolate syrup to soak the ladyfingers and maybe use a little creme de minthe ????? I’d much rather have chocolate than coffee!!!! It looks pretty basic so it would be fudge-able…… Enjoy your green beer… I’ll pass on that too thanks (more for you!! lol)

    • Hey Christine,
      As long as your the liquid is thin enough that you can soak the cookies you can use what you like. No worries on the Beer!! I’ll have yours haha! Have a good evening Christine!

  7. I’m not sure if ti’s the same in Ontario, but in BC it’s called Berry Sugar and made by Roger’s.

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