I Made Rachel’s English Trifle for Friendsgiving

And it was a total success!

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We’re all familiar with Rachel Green’s Thanksgiving trifle, right? If not, allow me to introduce you. The Friends character, who is a notoriously inexperienced cook, attempts to make an English trifle for Thanksgiving. Due to an unfortunate mishap, she confuses the dessert recipe with one for shepherd’s pie, which leads to a combination of custard, jam, cookies, fruit and beef sautéed with peas and onions — all topped off with a pile of whipped cream. When forced to eat it, Ross exclaims that the trifle "tastes like feet!"

Though I consider myself a Friends fanatic, I have never been tempted to try a dessert that includes beef. That’s why I was so excited when I saw this recipe for a copycat version of Rachel’s Thanksgiving trifle. Instead of meat, peas and onions, our recipe includes a look-alike layer of crushed cookies mixed with coconut and green candies. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it — and bring it to this year’s Friendsgiving. So the morning of the big day, I rolled up my sleeves, broke out the trifle dish and got to work.

The Prep

Having never made custard before, this was the part I was most nervous about. To be on the safe side, I pulled up the recipe and cooked the custard until it resembled the one in the video. While the custard chilled in the fridge, I lined the trifle dish with ladyfingers, which proved to be the most difficult part of the journey. I ended up lining the dish with three cookies at a time, then laying one flat as a retaining wall. Once that was settled, I moved onto the "beef." Rather than dirty up my food processor (because who really wants to wash dishes?), I dropped the cookies in a bag and crushed them with a rolling pin until the crumbs looked like ground beef. Once that was done, I mixed in shaved coconut and green candy — and was stunned by how much it resembled the real thing! By the time I completed those steps and cleaned up the mess, the custard was chilled and ready to go.

The Assembly

Take it from someone who is not a skilled decorator — once I stopped the ladyfingers from falling, assembling the trifle was incredibly simple. Stirring the jam first made it so easy to drizzle across the cookies and the custard spread with no problem at all. My pro tip for the whipped cream? Freeze the bowl before whipping the cream — it speeds up the process and helps the cream get extra light and fluffy. Once the components are layered together, all that's left to do is chill!

The Taste Test

After stuffing our faces with a Friendsgiving feast, I wasn’t sure we would even make it to dessert. Somehow, though, we all found room to try the trifle — and it was a hit! My Friends-loving friends adored the “beef” layer, and those who don’t watch the show still enjoyed the dessert. Unlike Ross, not one of them said the trifle "tasted like feet." In fact, they actually took leftovers home. My trifle dish was completely empty by the time it was over, which counts as a win in my book! I might even make it again next year...

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