Pear Cranberry Trifle


This dessert is the perfect dessert for a holiday party.  It is lovely to look at and to eat, but best of all, it can be prepared ahead of time.  The longer the dessert sits, the better it tastes – How perfect is that?



1                              baked angel food cake, cut into 1” cubes


1#                            fresh or frozen cranberries

2 ea                         bosche or D’anjou pears, peeled and cut into 1” cubes

1 C                           granulated sugar

2 ea                         oranges

½ C                          water

Pinch                       salt


2ea                          whole eggs

4 T                           corn starch

Pinch                       table salt

½ C                          granulated sugar

1 C                           whole milk

1 C                           skim milk

3 T                           rum or brandy (optional) or 2 t pure vanilla extract

½ C                          heavy cream

2 T                           granulated sugar




Cut the angel food cake in to 1” cubes and set aside.

Prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan combine the cranberries, pears, orange juice,  zest of 1 orange, sugar,  water and salt.

Stir gently to combine and heat over medium high heat most of the cranberries have burst and mixture has slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and refrigerate.

Prepare the pastry cream.  Heat the whole and skim milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles appear around edge of the milk.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, eggs, cornstarch and salt in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly to ensure no lumps of cornstarch remain.

Slowly whisk scalded milk into the egg mixture.

Pour mixture back into saucepan and bring to boil, whisking constantly, until pastry cream has thickened.

Remove from heat and whisk in liquor or vanilla.

Cover surface of pastry cream with plastic film and refrigerate.

Assemble trifle.  Whip cream and granulated sugar until soft peaks form.

Fold whipped cream into cooled pastry cream.  Set aside.

Using a clear glass serving bowl, layer 1/3 of cake cubes, 1/3 of cranberry-pear sauce & 1/3 pastry cream in bottom of bowl.

Repeat layers with remaining ingredients, ending with pastry cream.

Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until ready to serve.

***Garnish with sugared cranberries and pine boughs if desired before serving.

Serves 12-16