What kind of a name is bucketelle? Let me tell you. 

My mom's family is French Canadian, and my great-parents only spoke French, even though they moved to Vermont when my grandma was growing up. We inherited some great traditions from my mom's side of the family, and one of them is this trifle dessert with sponge cake, pudding, bananas, strawberries, walnuts and whipped cream. My grandma always called it "buck-a-tel", and that's what we always called it growing up. I never thought much about the name until this week when my mom was visiting because I showed her some changes that I had made to the recipe. 

I don't know about your family, but in my family traditions are traditions, and we rarely change things around. When I told my mom I had replaced the bananas with mangoes and added some coconut cream pudding, she wasn't resistant to the change, but told me it was a different dessert and would have to rename it. (You'll have to understand, my mom and her cousins have eaten this dessert on Christmas for years and who wants to say they messed with something like that? In fact, when my mom gave me the recipe, she told me that my great-grandmother used to make everything in it by hand. We've slowly replaced the homemade sponge cake with bought angel food cake and used jarred strawberry jam, but she told me if I ever used instant pudding my great-grandma would come back and haunt me. Pretty scary to tell a five year old, huh? )

Anyway, the idea of having to find a new name for this "different" dessert made us start to discuss the real name. What kind of name for a dessert has the word "bucket" in it? It's not the most appetizing word in the world. You might as well put the word "feedbag" in there, too. Since my grandma and great-aunts always said the word with a heavy French accent, we started to wonder if we had just completely butchered the name into some English word. After a little google searching, we realized that was true. The French world for a trifle dessert is called a bagatelle, not "bucket-el". Yep, totally slaughtered. It meant, though, that when it came time to name my "different" dessert, I could pick bucketelle, which I did. It may not be the most appetizing sounding, but it's what my immediate family has been calling it for years. 

Sometimes traditions just shouldn't be broken, you know.


1 package cook and serve coconut creme pudding
1 package cook and serve vanilla pudding
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 angel food cake
3 mangoes, diced
1 pint whipping cream
2 T sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Cook puddings according to package directions and refrigerate until cool.

2. In a large bowl, layer angel food cake (broken into pieces), strawberry mixture, mangoes and pudding. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. Refrigerate.

3. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Dollop on top of the trifle and serve.

Recipe Source: Marie Anne Boivin Fortier

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