December 31, 2010

Pear Trilogy - Part II - Pear Espresso Trifles

I wish I had better pictures of these trifles. I wish I could show you wonderful layers of goodness. I wish I could show you the happy faces of those who were lucky enough to eat them. But I can’t.

The thought behind these simple yet delicious treats were many. It took me time because I wanted these to be beautiful enough to be part of my Pear Trilogy (do you remember the French Pear Tart? I’m still dreaming about it!). And it took me time to set the stage. Not that the recipe is complicated. But it involves several phases. (Good news is, this stages can also be broken up into different time periods) Also, I took special advantage of Christmas leftovers. I still had some Nadalin left. I was thinking of making some bread pudding with it but instead I used it in the trifles. You can really use many things instead: Pandoro, sponge cake, ladyfingers….

It took no time, however, to my guests to eat them. So quick that by the time I said “wait, I still haven’t taken decent pictures” they were gone. I really can’t blame them. They were good! Trifle is, for sure, something I’ll make again! And took better pictures of it.

Pear Espresso Trifles
Ingredients for 4 individual trifles

1 batch espresso flavored pastry cream
2 tbsp butter
2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp (scant) Grand Marnier
4 slices of Nadalin (or pandoro/sponge cake etc), cut into cubes
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
desired quantity of whipping cream (we are not big fan of whipping cream so I did not even put it on our two trifles but only on those of my guests)

Steps and Assembling

1.    Prepare the pastry cream. You need to do it a bit in advance because the pastry cream needs to be completely cooled down before assembling the trifles. I used my usual pastry cream recipe, just adding a coffee flavor by adding a couple of tsp of instant coffee powder to the milk. You can find the recipe and method here or you can use any pastry cream recipe that you have in your repertoire.

2.   Cook the pears. Contrary to the majority of pear trifles recipe I found around, I did not roast the pears in the oven (which is pretty time consuming). Instead, I cooked them on the stove, as I’ve seen in a pear trifle recipe over at My Recipes, but with a couple of twists. I’m really glad I did so because the pears taste just great!

Here is how I cooked them: melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the pears and cook them for about 5 minutes. I did not cook them longer because I don’t like soggy fruit. Add 2 tbsp of brown sugar and just a tbsp of Grand Marnier and let sit in for a few minutes. The pear will end up with a wonderful taste and a bit of sauce that tastes fantastic! Let the pear cool down before assembling the trifles. And just as an aside: I loved the pears just by themselves! I think you could simply serve them with ice cream!

3.   Once the pastry cream and the pears are ready and cooled down you can start assembling the trifles. Put a few pieces of Nadalin (or whatever else you are using) in the glass and sprinkle with Grand Marnier. Make a pear layer and then spoon some pastry cream. Repeat with another layer: Nadalin (or else) sprinkled with Grand Marnier, pears and pastry cream. Now go on and prepare the other glasses.

4.   Keep the trifles refrigerated until about an hour before serving. They keep well for about one day in the refrigerator so you can make the trifles in advance.

5.    Right before serving, whip up some whipping cream and distributed on top of each glass with a pastry bag (you can easily just spoon it on top of the pastry cream if you like). You can spread the whipping cream when you assemble the trifles but I truly prefer freshly whipped cream those few times in my life I eat it.

Have a sweet day!


  1. hi Sara
    WOW!! you had me with the espresso pastry cream! Adding in the pears and Nadalin just pushed it over the top! What a decadent delicious dessert it must have been, and the glasses are beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing this perfect trifle with us!
    Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy new year!

  2. I would have never thought to pair pear(say that 5 times fast) with espresso but this really sounds delicious!

  3. You silly woman! These pictures are gorgeous and mouthwatering. I think you've done your job as a food blogger and I'm so in love with combination of flavors and texturs here. I would actually say this might be one of my favorites out of all your posts so far. Like Dennis says, over the top!

    Happy New Year! :-)

  4. Mmmm...those flavors together sound (and look)amazing. Hope you have a lovely new year!

  5. Hello my friend. It's fun to end the year reading another wonderful post of yours. Thank you for all the smiles you give me as I read.

    Your picture is fantastic. It makes me want to crawl through the screen to eat some of that amazing trifle! I have a big one in the fridge right now with a lemon cream, blueberries and angel cake for our New Year's party. 'Tis the season for trifles, eh?

    Big hugs and lots of kisses for the new year. In 2011 we meet, right?

  6. Impressive! These look and sounds absolutely amazing. Happy, Happy New Year to you!!!

  7. you don't have to wish anymore hun....the minute i read 'trifle' i was sold, and then i saw these gorgeous glasses filled with yummy goodness....what more can you offer! yummm

  8. I'm not usually a trifle fan, but these sound absolutely amazing. I love the combination of pears, espresso and orange liqueur.

  9. Anything with pears at this time of year is just mouth watering. And those look so delicious! Your pictures are much more effective than you believe;)

  10. These look beautiful! Delish!
    And, I love the photos!

    Happy New Year!

  11. This looks amazing! Great job all around!

  12. A better picture!? Your trifles look gorgeous Sara! I love the flavors.. I would easily devour this :) I hope you had a wonderful New Years! More baking and blogging fun to come in 2011!!

  13. I think your photo is great! I looked at it and said "yum!" These sound so good, definitely a decadent treat:)

  14. So beautiful and what a wonderful way to serve them.


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