Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ginger and Pear Trifle

This is another recipe from Nigella Express - even quicker and easier than the chocolate mousse, believe it or not (and, I think, a lot summerier). I am usually a jelly-in-the-trifle kind of girl - I know it can go both ways, and some foodie folks seem to abhor the wobble factor of jelly, but I love it. This, however, is a jelly-free trifle, which I wasn't sure about, but ginger wine is a fabulous thing so I figured it was worth a whirl.

While you could do things properly, making your own sponge and custard and poaching some pears, this is supposed to be quick so I think the "proper" way here is in fact whipping down to New World and rounding up the relevant ingredients. Who wants to spend their whole summer indoors baking? ;-) 

The assembly takes all of five minutes, and though you can feasibly prepare it as little as an hour before eating the flavours do develop a little so I recommend planning ahead if you can - ours was nicer the second day.

The pears were my addition (I think it would also be great with fresh peaches or nectarines), as while I was willing to let the jelly go, I couldn't bear not to have any fruit nestling in the spongy layer. Leaving them out won't be a problem, but I did like having the fruit factor - in fact, I thought there wasn't enough pear in ours so have increased the quantity for the recipe below. 

I bought the Meadow Fresh creamy custard, which is pretty darn good for what it is (and nice and thick, great for trifle) - definitely recommend that one. I don't even consider the other options anymore! Nigella's recipe actually only called for cream, but how could you have trifle without custard?

The recipe calls for a passionfruit topping, but I couldn't find fresh passionfruit (I didn't try terribly hard, but the supermarket I was at weren't stocking any) so I used a dessert topping, which was more sugar than passionfruit and really didn't add anything (except prettiness!). I think next time I'd grate a tiny bit of chocolate over the top instead, or just leave it plain.

I guess this is actually pretty different from Nigella's original recipe, but it was super yummy and I definitely don't regret any of my changes (and definitely appreciate the ginger wine inspiration!). How do you like your trifle? Jelly or no jelly? Fruit or no fruit? Cream, custard, or both? 

Ginger and Pear Trifle (adapted from Nigella Express)
1 large trifle sponge
250ml ginger wine
2 tins of quartered pears, in juice
1 litre custard
passionfruit syrup, 6 fresh passionfruit, or shaved chocolate to decorate

Cut the sponge into rough 5cm cubes. Place in a trifle bowl. Reserve the juice from one tin of pears, and scatter the drained pears over the sponge.

Mix the ginger wine together with the reserved juice and pour evenly over the sponge. Pour the custard on top and spread evenly to cover the sponge. Top with passionfruit syrup, the flesh from fresh passionfruit, or shaved chocolate, and chill for at least an hour (preferably four or so, as the flavours will deepen). Serves 8.


  1. Hi Mrs Cake,I used the custard in my Christmas trifle and found it too runny,and very very sweet.I do like the look of this trifle though.

    Happy NY,I hope you enjoy yr break,the weather is fab here in Welly.

  2. Hmmm, this makes me wonder what actually is the definition of a trifle then? Was hers just boozy sponge and cream?

    I'm not a huge fan of the alcohol factor in the sponge - but that's probably because I don't seem to like alcohol in my food much (it's much better in my glass :-D). I do love the jelly though, but that's probably just because I love jelly generally.

  3. Anon, I guess it is pretty sweet - but I like sweet! Runny sounds odd, though - I've had it several times and it's always been very thick and creamy. Hope you have wonderful 2011 - good to hear the weather is behaving itself. Can't beat Wellington on a good day!

    Kate, yep, boozy sponge and cream. The definition does seem pretty broad - this month's Donna Hay mag has a feature on trifle, including one made with macarons instead of sponge (looks divine but not sure if it counts!) and one which really seem to be just cream with some toffee pieces. I'm also not usually a huge fan of boozy trifle but I quite liked this (after I added pear juice to dilute the ginger wine a bit!).


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