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Gingered Pear and Cranberry Trifle


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  • Pears and Syrup
  • 5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 12 -inch piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 ripe but firm pears (about 2 1/2 pounds),peeled, halved , cored
  • Custard
  • 4 ½ cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • Cake
  • 1 ¼ 1-pound pound cakes
  • 2 16-ounce cans prepared whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 5 tablespoons pear liqueur, brandy or pear nectar
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • fresh mint sprigs


Servings 10


Step 1

Pears and Syrup

Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy saucepan. Remove peel from lemon with vegetable peeler and add peel to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add pears and simmer until pears are tender, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a bowl. Boil pear cooking liquid until reduced to scant 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Strain reduced syrup and pour over pears. Cool to room temperature.

Preparation for Custard

Scald milk in a heavy large saucepan. Whisk yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Return custard mixture to same saucepan. Cook over medium heat until custard boils and thickens, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Mix in ginger. Chill until cold. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover pears and custard separately and refrigerate.)

Preparation for Cake

Cut cakes horizontally in half. Spread cut sides with 1 cup cranberry sauce. Reassemble cakes. Cut cakes crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange 12 cake "sandwiches" in single layer cut side up over bottom of 12-cup glass bowl. Spread cake with 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to work surface. Cut pears into 1/2-inch pieces. Arrange 1/3 of pears over sauce. Measure 5 tablespoons pear syrup (reserve remainder for another use). Stir liqueur into 5 tablespoons syrup. Brush pears with 1/4 cup of liqueur mixture. Spread with 1 1/2 cups of custard. Place remaining cake "sandwiches" in a single layer over custard. Spread with 2/3 cup of cranberry sauce. Top with remaining pears. Brush pears with remaining liqueur mixture. Spread with remaining custard. Smooth top. Cover; chill overnight.

In a large bowl whip cream ti stiff peaks. Spoon cream into pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Spread 1 1/2 cups of cranberry sauce over custard. Pipe cream in decorative border atop dessert. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Chill.) Garnish with almonds and mint sprigs.

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