Christmas Cooking For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

This pear-almond trifle makes a show-stopping dessert for your Christmas gatherings. Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients or the assembly instructions. This pear trifle is easy to make and impressive. Make this recipe the day before through Step 2 of the assembly instructions.

A trifle bowl looks like a gigantic stemmed glass, but any glass bowl will do. It’s classic to be able to see all the layers.

Pear-Almond Trifle

Special equipment: 3-quart glass trifle bowl or similarly sized bowl.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Yield: 14 servings

16-ounce pound cake, thawed if frozen

12 Amaretti di Saronno cookies (6 wrapped pairs)

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

The amaretti cookies can be found in specialty stores.

Roasted Pears

6 firm, ripe pears (about 7 ounces each), such as Bartlett, peeled and cored

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Di Saronno Amaretto liqueur

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pears into 1/2-inch chunks. Toss the pears, sugar, and liqueur in a roasting pan. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the pears are tender and have begun to caramelize.

  2. Make the other components of the trifle while the pears are in the oven.

Amaretto Syrup

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup Di Saronno Amaretto liqueur

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small pot. Stir to wet the sugar thoroughly. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute.

  2. Remove from heat and add liqueur. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a month.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk

7 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons Di Saronno Amaretto liqueur

  1. Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat in a medium-sized non-reactive saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and salt in a medium-sized, non-reactive, heatproof bowl. Dribble warm milk over the egg mixture, starting with just a few tablespoons, to temper the eggs. Whisk in the remaining milk.

  2. 2Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Stirring continuously, simmer for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Immediately pour through a fine strainer into a storage container and stir in the butter. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to cool room temperature. The cream may be used immediately. If storing, cover with plastic wrap that you press onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for up to 4 days.


2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

  1. Beat the heavy cream and sugar until relatively stiff peaks form.


  1. Slice the pound cake horizontally into three layers, then cut vertically into eighths. Using a 3-quart glass trifle bowl or regular glass bowl, line the bottom with a third of the pound cake. Crush four of the amaretti cookies and sprinkle them over the cake. Drizzle with one-third of the amaretto syrup. Spread with one-third of the pastry cream and a layer of one-third of the pears. Repeat two more times. The trifle may be made ahead up to this point. Simply cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Proceed if serving immediately or within 6 hours.

  2. Top with a layer of sweetened whipped cream. May be refrigerated up to 6 hours, if desired. Top with toasted almonds immediately before serving.

Per serving: Calories 481 (From fat 234); Total fat 26g (Saturated 12g); Cholesterol 181mg; Sodium 176mg; Carbohydrates 56g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 6g.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Dede Wilson, CCP, contributes to Bon Appétit and Pastry and Design magazine and to NBC's Todayshow. She is also the Food and Entertaining expert for

This article can be found in the category: