Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gingerbread Pear Trifle

This is a dessert my aunt Paula often brings to holiday dinners. She and I share a love of food, cooking and ginger! We really enjoy taking cooking classes together, sharing favorite recipes and swapping cooking tips and stories. She recently taught a “Northwest Holiday Dinner” themed cooking class and fortunately for me, she shared all her recipes from the class including; White Bean, Prosciutto and Spinach Bruschetta, Pear and Hazelnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Syrah Sauce (incredible!), Creamy Polenta, and her famous Gingerbread Pear Trifle.

This year we spent Christmas with Curtis’ family so I decided, even though I’d be missing my family, I didn’t need to miss out on one of my favorite holiday desserts! So I made it for the first time and even though there are several steps and layers, it’s actually a pretty simple dessert. I made all the steps two days in advance and then assembled the trifle on Christmas morning before we joined our family. This dessert would also be special enough to serve on New Year’s Eve.

Happy New Year and as one of my favorite Christmas cards we received this year said (thanks Jenny D!) – Wishing you lots of happy!


Aunt Paula & Sunset Magazine

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl; mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, the cloves, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 egg until thick and pale.
Stir in applesauce, molasses, fresh ginger, oil, and 1/4 cup hot water.

Stir in flour mixture.

Spray an 8 by 8 inch square pan with vegetable oil spray.
Pour batter into pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

Let rest 5 minutes; turn out onto rack and let cool. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add pears. Cook, stirring until soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, fresh ginger, and salt.

2 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons butter

In a pan over medium heat, whisk half-and-half, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thickened, 10 minutes. Take off heat; stir in vanilla and butter. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

In a large bowl, beat cream, powdered sugar, and ginger until soft peaks form.

3 Tablespoons amaretto or brandy (I used amaretto)
1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped

Put half the gingerbread cubes in a trifle dish or glass bowl.

Sprinkle with half the amaretto or brandy.

Spoon half the pears and liquid over gingerbread.

Pour half the custard over pears.

Top with half the whipped cream and half the crystallized ginger.

Repeat layers.

Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 1 day.


  1. That is a beautiful gingerbread pear trifle. Awesome!


  2. ahhhh I love Aunt Paula! I still make her gorgonzola pizza and it is ALWAYS the biggest hit. This dessert looks beautiful!

  3. Went looking for the recipe bec. your mom said it was so good, and lo and behold I found you. Nifty! Christy (and Drew)