CHRISTMAS time, mistletoe and....trifle, that's how the song goes, doesn't it?

If not, it should.

The humble trifle has never gone out of fashion, perhaps due to being one of the easiest desserts to prepare with minimum fuss.

Here’s how to make a proper trifle this Christmas.

For the base top I recommend using Madeira cake, homemade or shop bought.

Put its residual taste aside, for you need a cake that is dense to absorb the fruit juices and booze without it becoming overly wet and mushy, and can be smoothly spooned out of the bowl.

The fruit? In theory the possibilities are endless, from frozen dark summer fruits and tinned clementines to the retro tin of fruit cocktail.

The jelly – the posher you are, the less jelly you are likely to include, unless, like Nigella, you are so posh it simply doesn't matter what you do.

Jelly should not be dismissed out of hand. Simply choose a branded jelly and go the whole 1970s hog with a tin of fruit cocktail, at least that way you will have nostalgia on your side.

Custard –it is meant to feel luxurious and does tolerate corner-cutting, so buy a decent ready-made one.

Cream – definitely no aerosol can here, you must have a thick, choppy sea of double cream to do it any justice.

Booze? If you are going off piste, Kirsch, Tia Maria or Malibu might lead you astray using last year’s near-empty bottles.

But we are talking about a classic trifle, and you must have sherry (not dry) or possibly rum or brandy to keep grandad happy on the big day. But be discreet, don't drown it, you’re not meant to singe his eyebrows.

Toppings? A trifle can be an elegant and indulgent affair, with its creamy façade hiding the rich, boozy delights within, but on the other hand it can be the most vulgar of concoction topped with hundreds and thousands and sticky glace cherries beloved of the1970s hostesses.

The rich, thick cream deserves better, and roasted flaked almonds are the perfect combinations of taste, crunch and texture with a sprinkling of chocolate flake from the selection box.

Once set, it sits seductively at the top of the fridge next to the turkey until it can be brought out in triumph.

Serving the trifle often demands a huge glass bowl - give me a cereal bowl crammed full of trifle anyday, it’s one of life’s great pleasures scraping back a section of the custard and cream with a tablespoon.

Finally before you all go off and make one, a word on mum’s Christmas trifle which did contain tinned fruit cocktail suspended in jelly, and was to die for.

So, what do you put in your trifle this Christmas time - does anything go, or do you follow familial or cultural tradition?

One thing for sure, jelly in our trifle is not a class issue in Yorkshire, it’s a tradition and long may it live. Merry Christmas everyone!