Scottish Trifle: The Easiest Tipsy Laird Recipe

by Phil Bolger
Tipsy Laird Scottish Trifle Recipe

If you’ve never heard of a Tipsy Laird your mind must be boggling at what it might be! This quaintly named Scottish dessert has been one of our favourites for a while now – both thanks to the imagery the name Tipsy Laird creates and how simple this wonderful looking pudding is to make!

What is a Tipsy Laird?

A Tipsy Laird is a Scottish Trifle that, at it’s most basic, uses whisky or whisky liqueur rather than the sherry that you’d find in a traditional English trifle. We also like to use Scottish raspberries and raspberry jam in ours too.

We always like to try and find out a bit of history to the recipes we make, but try as we might we couldn’t find out where the name Tipsy Laird originated from or when it was first made. The earliest Trifle recipe appeared in a cookbook in 1585, so there’s definitely some history to the dessert, although when the switch to whisky may have happened is anyone’s guess.

We imagine it was an idea that was spread by those like prefer whisky or would like to make their English Trifle a little more Scottish!

As far as explaining the name goes, a Laird is the Scottish equivalent to an English Lord. They would be the owner of a large estate though, as opposed to a Lord who might also have a peerage title that was either passed down through the family or bestowed upon them by the regent of the time.

So we can imagine the name Tipsy Laird being a little tongue in cheek, poking fun at the upper classes with a simple dessert. Whoever the first Tipsy Laird was they’ve managed to not have their drunken exploits documented!

Pin for later!

Why make a Tipsy Laird?

Traditionally a Trifle would be made around Christmas and a Tipsy Laird is no different, although it could also be made at Hogmanay or for Burns Night too.

It’s a lighter dessert than say a Christmas pudding or a Clootie Dumpling (recipe found here) and is a great centrepiece for a table as the layers of cream, yellow custard, jammy sponge and bright fruit stand out wonderfully.

The best part, this is one of the easiest pudding we have made yet, it’s as simple as Caledonian Cream (recipe found here) but just as tasty!

The thing about making a Scottish Trifle (or any for that matter) is that how much of each ingredient you need depends on how many people you want to serve and what size bowl or glasses that you use. It can be a little bit of a guessing game the first time around for this reason but we’ll talk you through it and you’ll be wanting to make it again anyhow we’re sure!

We made ours as individual portions but this recipe can be adapted for any size dish. We suggest making your Tipsy Laird the day before or at least several hours before you want to serve it. Though not crucial it does taste better when allowed to rest for a while.

Scottish Trifle - Tipsy Laird Recipe

Things you’ll need to make Tipsy Laird

You can make this as one large trifle that serves 4, or in four individual bowls/glasses.

  • Trifle dishes – You can use a large bowl like this or individual glasses like this, or whatever you have!
  • Saucepan/Microwave safe bowl
  • Spoon

If you’re making custard:

  • Large saucepan/pot
  • Egg yolk separator (like this, if you’re not confident doing it yourself!)
  • Whisk
Scottish Trifle - Tispy Laird Recipe in two glasses with whisky

Ingredients for Tipsy Laird

As we mentioned above, this will serve 4. You can make in one large bowl or four individual bowls/glasses. The size of your bowl will dictate the amount of the ingredients a bit. You may need slightly more or less depending on what you use.

The amount of whisky is also changeable of course! We like to have a decent whisky taste and this will definitely give it.

  • 12 Trifle Sponges/Ladyfingers – This is approximately 250g of sponges/ladyfingers/cake but you basically want enough to make a whole layer in your bowl/glasses.
  • 600ml bought custard
  • Raspberries to decorate (approximately 500g)
  • 1 cup of raspberry jam (approximately one small jar/320g)
  • 250ml of double cream (1 cup of heavy whipping cream)
  • 8 Tbsp Scottish Whisky or whisky liqueur
  • 8 Tbsp Orange Juice

If you’re making custard:

  • 600ml whole fat milk (2.5 cups)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 25g caster sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod

Trifle Sponges

Trifle sponges are commonly sold in the UK but may not be as available elsewhere. You can substitute for ladyfingers which are used to make tiramisu or use a basic plain sponge cake and cut into pieces to suit.

Custard

In the UK it’s easy to buy either totally pre-made custard or custard powder that you can use to make up your own custard easily. However, elsewhere you may need to either make your own custard or seek out some custard powder (Birds is the most common brand found internationally).

Scottish Trifle - Tipsy Laird Recipe in a glass

How to make Tipsy Laird – step by step method

The basic premise is to build a dessert of three layers – sponge soaked in whisky, jam, and orange juice on the bottom, topped with custard, topped with cream. You can add raspberries throughout the layers and for decoration. We like to put a few crushed on the bottom if serving in glasses, some cut in half and layered around the outside of the bowl on top of the sponge, and then on top.

Note: If you’re making your own custard or using powder you’ll want to do that first so it can cool.

Layer 1 – Sponge

  • If using trifle sponges then cut each sponge in half and spread with jam, then put back together as though you were making a sandwich. For ladyfingers or spongecake spread jam on one side.
  • Cut the sponges to fit into your bowl or glass. We cut into 1.5cm strips for smaller glasses but you can cut larger rectangles or squares for a large bowl.
  • Begin placing the sponge strips into the bowl/s. We start by working along the edge to make sure the visible layer looks good and then fill out the middle. Pack them in tightly, cutting smaller pieces of sponge to fill any gaps. This makes sure the rest of the pudding has a firm foundation to build layers upon. The layer should be at least an inch thick, depending on the size of your bowl.
  • Once the layer is packed in firmly in each serving place them to one side.
  • Gently heat the jam in a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl to thin it out. Take off the heat and add the whisky and orange juice. Allow to cool and taste to see if you want to add more whisky or orange juice.
  • Pour over the sponge layer, making sure the whole thing is well soaked. There shouldn’t be any dry sponge, although you don’t want it totally soggy either so don’t feel you need to use it all if you find it’s too much.
  • Make sure this layer is totally cool before adding the next. We like to do this earlier in the day and keep in the fridge.

Layer 2 – Custard

*See below for how to make your own custard

  • If using raspberries, cut enough raspberries in half place the cut half facing the glass of the dish in a layer on top of the soaked sponges.
  • Once this outside-facing ring of raspberries is in place you can fill in the middle with raspberries too if you like, but it’s not essential.
  • Pour the custard over this layer of tightly packed raspberries. This layer should be of the same thickness as the sponge layer.
  • Allow the custard to cool/set in the fridge

Layer 3 – Cream

  • Tip the double cream into the mixing bowl and whip until the cream forms stiff peaks
  • Place cream gently on top of the custard layer. It’s easiest to pipe if you can so that it doesn’t sink into the custard, or you can spoon small amounts over the whole thing.
  • Decorate with whole raspberries and put in the fridge until required.
Tipsy Laird - Scottish Trifle spooned out of larger bowl

Making your own custard

For powdered custard mix to the directions on the box, making approximately 600ml or 2.5 cups. To make a thicker custard that will set more increase the powder slightly more than the directions.

For making your own custard, do so as below:

  • Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds
  • Put the seeds and the outside of the pod into a saucepan with the milk and gently heat until almost boiling
  • Set aside to allow the vanilla to infuse
  • Meanwhile, split your eggs and keep the yolks (you can use the whites for meringues if you like!)
  • Mix the egg yolks with the cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until it comes together as a paste
  • Remove the outside of the vanilla pod from the milk and then slowly pour into the paste, stirring constantly, until it is combined
  • Tip back into a clean saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. The custard will start to thicken at around 75C/167F. You can measure if it’s ready by using a thermometer or coat the back of a spoon, draw a line with a fingertip (carefully!) and if the line stays then it is ready.
  • Set aside to cool completely

Variations

For a little extra kick add a tablespoon of Whisky or Drambuie to the cream as you’re whisking it, this makes sure the whisky taste is on every spoonful and helps add a little more tipsy to your Laird!

To add a little extra crunch and to provide the perfect decoration to the top of your completed Tipsy Laird add some roasted almonds. The roasted flavour really sets off the whisky perfectly.

Scottish Trifle - Tipsy Laird in a serving glass
Yield: Serves 4 in one large bowl or individual portions

Easiest Tipsy Laird Recipe

Tipsy Laird Scottish Trifle Recipe

Tipsy Laird is a Scottish Trifle, made so by using whisky and to soak the sponge instead of the usual sherry. You can also use Scottish raspberries and Scottish raspberry jam too!

This Scottish dessert is great at Christmas time, Hogmanay, or Burns Night but enjoyable all year too of course.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 Trifle Sponges/Ladyfingers - *See Note 2
  • 600ml custard
  • Raspberries to decorate (approximately 500g)
  • 1 cup of raspberry jam (approximately one small jar/320g)
  • 250ml of double cream (1 cup of heavy whipping cream)
  • 8 Tbsp Scottish Whisky or whisky liqueur
  • 8 Tbsp Orange Juice

Custard *See Note 3

  • 600ml whole fat milk (2.5 cups)
  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 25g caster sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod

Instructions

Layer 1 - Sponge

  • If using trifle sponges then cut each sponge in half and spread with jam, then put back together as though you were making a sandwich. For ladyfingers or spongecake spread jam on one side.
  • Cut the sponges to fit into your bowl or glass. We cut into 1.5cm strips for smaller glasses but you can cut larger rectangles or squares for a large bowl.
  • Begin placing the sponge strips into the bowl/s. We start by working along the edge to make sure the visible layer looks good and then fill out the middle. Pack them in tightly, cutting smaller pieces of sponge to fill any gaps. This makes sure the rest of the pudding has a firm foundation to build layers upon. The layer should be at least an inch thick, depending on the size of your bowl.
  • Once the layer is packed in firmly in each serving place them to one side.
  • Gently heat the jam in a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl to thin it out. Take off the heat and add the whisky and orange juice. Allow to cool and taste to see if you want to add more whisky or orange juice.
  • Pour over the sponge layer, making sure the whole thing is well soaked. There shouldn't be any dry sponge, although you don't want it totally soggy either so don't feel you need to use it all if you find it's too much.
  • Make sure this layer is totally cool before adding the next. We like to do this earlier in the day and keep in the fridge.

Layer 2 - Custard

*See below for how to make your own custard

  • If using raspberries, cut enough raspberries in half place the cut half facing the glass of the dish in a layer on top of the soaked sponges.
  • Once this outside-facing ring of raspberries is in place you can fill in the middle with raspberries too if you like, but it's not essential.
  • Pour the custard over this layer of tightly packed raspberries. This layer should be of the same thickness as the sponge layer.
  • Allow the custard to cool/set in the fridge

Layer 3 - Cream

  • Tip the double cream into the mixing bowl and whip until the cream forms stiff peaks
  • Place cream gently on top of the custard layer. It's easiest to pipe if you can so that it doesn't sink into the custard, or you can spoon small amounts over the whole thing.
  • Decorate with whole raspberries and put in the fridge until required.

Making your own custard

For powdered custard mix to the directions on the box, making approximately 600ml or 2.5 cups. To make a thicker custard that will set more increase the powder slightly more than the directions.

For making your own custard, do so as below:

  • Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds
  • Put the seeds and the outside of the pod into a saucepan with the milk and gently heat until almost boiling
  • Set aside to allow the vanilla to infuse
  • Meanwhile, split your eggs and keep the yolks (you can use the whites for meringues if you like!)
  • Mix the egg yolks with the cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until it comes together as a paste
  • Remove the outside of the vanilla pod from the milk and then slowly pour into the paste, stirring constantly, until it is combined
  • Tip back into a clean saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. The custard will start to thicken at around 75C/167F. You can measure if it's ready by using a thermometer or coat the back of a spoon, draw a line with a fingertip (carefully!) and if the line stays then it is ready.
  • Set aside to cool completely

Notes

    1. This will serve 4. You can make in one large bowl or four individual bowls/glasses. The size of your bowl will dictate the amount of the ingredients a bit. You may need slightly more or less depending on what you use.
    2. Trifle sponges are commonly sold in the UK but may not be as available elsewhere. You can substitute for ladyfingers which are used to make tiramisu or use a basic plain sponge cake and cut into pieces to suit. This is approximately 250g of sponges/ladyfingers/cake but you basically want enough to make a whole layer in your bowl/glasses.
    3. In the UK it's easy to buy either totally pre-made custard or custard powder that you can use to make up your own custard easily. However, elsewhere you may need to either make your own custard or seek out some custard powder (Birds is the most common brand found internationally). If making either powdered or your own make this first so it has time to cool.


    Variations:

    • For a little extra kick add a tablespoon of Whisky or Drambuie to the cream as you're whisking it, this makes sure the whisky taste is on every spoonful and helps add a little more tipsy to your Laird!
    • To add a little extra crunch and to provide the perfect decoration to the top of your completed Tipsy Laird add some roasted almonds. The roasted flavour really sets off the whisky perfectly.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

Send this to a friend