For almost thirty years, Mollie Sugden brought smiles and outright laughter to not only the North Texas area, but to the world, as Mrs. Slocombe on Are You Being Served. One can’t help but smile when the theme to AYBS plays and you sit there wondering just what color her hair will be in this episode. Like I Love Lucy, you know every line before it’s said, you know “that look” that’s getting ready to come, but you still laugh. Like Lucille Ball, you soon realize how much physical humor played a role in her characters.
Personally, I can’t think of Mollie, especially at holiday time, without thinking of a time almost ten years ago when we had the extreme good fortune to be able to create a documentary for PBS called Celebrating Mollie Sugden: An Are You Being ServedSpecial. We spent a week with Mollie at her home in England during the celebration of her 80th birthday. In addition to being the warmest, most genuine, individual, Mollie never ceased in her desire to make us all feel a part of her extended family.
Not only was she a genuinely caring person, Mollie loved to cook. So, it’s only fitting in our quest for the ultimate holiday menu that we include Mollie’s recipe for Trifle. I will always remember the time Mollie made this for our visit and we stood in her kitchen for several helpings along with John Inman and Wendy Richard. It was incredible! We were all unanimous in that. Although Mollie, Wendy and John are, sadly, no longer with us, we will never forget the smiles and the laughter you have given us over the years and will continue to give us for years to come. Thank you.
Mollie Sugden’s Trifle
Small sponge cake or 6 individual sponge cakes
1 tin of raspberries
1 pint full cream milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ pint double cream
Break up the sponge roughly and place in a pretty glass bowl. Pour over this the tin of raspberries, juice and all. (If liked, you can add a good sprinkling of sherry at this stage.)
Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan, and while waiting for it to boil, beat the eggs in a jug along with the sugar. Pour the boiling milk over the eggs. Rinse the saucepan and return the egg and milk mixture to it. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Pour the custard over the raspberries and sponge. Leave to cool and set.
When cold, whip the cream until it stands in soft peaks (not too dense), then spoon this over the custard. Just before serving you can decorate with fresh raspberries.
Serve into individual dishes or glass bowls making sure that everyone gets some of each layer.
In Mollie’s own words: “This seems to be a particularly English dessert. There are as many recipes for Trifle as there are women who make it. However, this one is a fairly basic recipe and the one I always use – nobody has ever thrown it back at me!”