The essential ingredients of a good English trifle are a sponge cake soaked in sherry, a creamy layer of rich custard and a thick layer of freshly whipped cream. Personal preference dictates the remaining ingredients, which may include jelly or fresh fruit. Use a ready-made custard to shorten preparation time.
Place 2 cups of cubed sponge cake and 5 crumbled macaroon cookies into a 3-quart glass serving bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons sherry and 2 tablespoons brandy over it, or use 4 tablespoons orange juice for a non-alcoholic dessert. In a small bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar. Heat 1 3/4 cups cream in a small saucepan, removing from the heat when bubbles begin to form around the pan sides. Stir a little of the hot cream into the beaten eggs and return all of the eggs to the pan while stirring constantly. Once the mixture has thickened enough to coat a spoon, remove it from the heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Layer 1 cup each fresh raspberries, peeled and sliced peaches, and sliced strawberries over the sponge layer, and spoon the custard over the fruit. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
Beat 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form and spoon or pipe it over the custard layer. Garnish with 1/2 cup of toasted sliced almonds. For variety, add 2 peeled and cubed kiwi to the fruit mixture, or spread the sponge cake with raspberry jam before cutting it.