Monday, January 01, 2007

Caramelized Pear Trifle with Champagne Sabayon

Last year at Christmas, I posted pics of Gordon with this trifle that he fashioned with his own two masculine, somewhat hairy hands. We've made it at least twice, but alas, not this Christmas. That could have something to do with the fact that our trifle set is in storage along with 7,000 lbs of other belongings that apparently we are living quite nicely without but paying a fair sum to store until we find a house to buy (which begs the question... why are we keeping stuff we can apparently live without?)

Anyhoo, by popular request I am posting the recipe, which I got out of some long-lost Canadian Living magazine a few years back. Canadian Living recipes are, in my opinion, very good and very well tested! Enjoy.

(Sadly, we were fresh out of edible gold flakes when Gordon made the trifle photographed above, so we used the green and pink balls we had on hand. A tad lurid, but you must admit, it looks very festive. Yes, this trifle is the trollop of desserts!)

Caramelized Pear Trifle with Champagne Sabayon

Makes 12 servings.

8 pears (Bartlett or Packham), about 3 lb (1.75 kg)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (50 mL)
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (150 mL)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (25 mL)
1 loaf pound cake (298 g)

3 tablespoons pear eau-de-vie (Poire William) or pear brandy* (50 mL)
1 1/3 cups whipping cream (325 mL)

Champagne Sabayon
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar (150 mL)
1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling white wine (125 mL)

Edible gold flakes

Peel, quarter and core pears. Cut each quarter into 4 slices.

In large skillet, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the pears and sprinkle with half the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring gently with wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are golden and spoon leaves trail that fills in slowly when drawn across bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Repeat with remaining pears, butter, brown sugar and lemon juice. Let cool.

(Make ahead: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Fill large bowl with ice-cold water; set aside.

In heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, Champagne and eau-de-vie; set over saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking almost constantly, until mixture is doubled in volume and thick enough to leave trail when whisk is lifted, about 10 minutes.

Immerse bottom of bowl in bowl of cold water; whisk sabayon constantly, until cold, about 10 minutes.

Whip cream until soft peaks form; fold into sabayon. Place plastic wrap directly on surface and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Set aside 10 of the pear slices.

Cut pound cake in half lengthwise; cut cross-wise into _ inch (1 cm) slices.

Line bottom of 12 cup (3 L) glass trifle or serving bowl with half of the cake slices. Ladle half of the reserved pear liquid over cake. Layer half of the pears over the top, then half of the sabayon. Repeat layers.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 6 hours or for up to 24 hours.

Arranged reserved pear slices on trifle; sprinkle with gold flakes (if using).

*TIP: If you don't have any eau-de-vie or pear brandy, substitute regular brandy or pear nectar.

Per Serving: about 415 cal; 4 g protein, 22g total fat (10 g sat. fat), 52 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 194 mg cholesterol, 119 mg sodium. %RDI: 7% calcium, 10% iron, 21% vitamin A, 7% vitamin C, 15% folate.


  1. Oooh yum. Another great recipe to add to my collection. I like the colorful balls.

  2. Oh, this is a must make recipe! Like I need to make more food... :)

  3. Anonymous10:26 am

    Crowzma said...

    I don't think this is on my diet... but goodness, I can roll in it, can't I?


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!