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Roasted Pear, Raspberry and Amaretto Trifle Recipe

1 recipe pastry cream (see recipe)

Pears

8 firm but ripe Bartlett pears, cored, peeled and halved lengthwise

1/3 C. sugar

2 T. fresh lemon juice

Other ingredients:

1/4 C. sliced almonds

50 slightly stale ladyfingers (2 3-oz. packages)

1 1/2 C. coarsely crushed amaretti or ratafia cookies

3/4 C. raspberry jam

1/4 C. brandy

1/4 C. Amaretto or other almond liqueur

Whipped cream

2 C. chilled whipping cream

1/4 C. powdered sugar

1 T. vanilla extract

1 small box raspberries, for garnish

Mint leaves, for garnish

For the pears: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss pear halves with the sugar and lemon juice, arrange on a baking sheet, and pour any remaining juice over them. Roast until tender and golden brown in spots, turning once or twice,

about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl along with any juices and bits of caramel from the cooking.

Cover and chill.

For the assembly: Remove the pastry cream and pears from the refrigerator.

Lightly toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Arrange about 1/3 of the ladyfingers in the bottom of a 3-quart trifle bowl, fitting them in tightly, trimming them if need be. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the crushed amaretti over the ladyfingers, dot with about 1/4 cup of the raspberry jam, then top with 1/3 of the pears; drizzle 1 tablespoon of brandy and 1 tablespoon of amaretto over the pears, then spread with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the pastry cream. Repeat 2 more times with the ladyfingers, amaretti, jam, pears, brandy, amaretto and pastry cream. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.

Before serving: Whip the cream until it thickens, then add the sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form. Spread over the top of the trifle, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and garnish with the raspberries and mint leaves.

Serves 8

Pastry Cream

Make a day before you plan on assembling the trifle.

1 quart milk

1/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 egg yolks

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter ( 1/2 stick), softened

Bring the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar to a boil.

Blend together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs yolks, whole eggs and vanilla; blend into the cornstarch mixture. Beat a cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, then add the egg mixture to the remaining hot milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the pastry cream is thick and begins to boil.

Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a bowl. Place the softened butter, in pieces, on top of the pastry cream. When the cream is almost cool, stir in the butter. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream (to prevent a skin from forming). Chill.

More ideas for trifle

-- Cranachan Trifle. Layer ladyfingers in the bottom of a bowl, dab with raspberry preserves, then another layer of ladyfingers. Douse with 1/4- 1/2 cup whisky. Sprinkle with granola or another toasted oat cereal, then raspberries, and spread with a thick layer of pastry cream. Cover and chill. Before serving, whip cream, sweeten with powdered sugar, vanilla and whisky, then spoon over the pastry cream. Garnish with fresh raspberries and sprinkle with more crumbled granola or other toasted oat cereal. For a Christmas-y garnish, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves or candied angelica.

-- Strawberry Ripple and Meringue Trifle. Layer ladyfingers or spongecake in the bottom of a bowl, douse with Cognac, dot with raspberry or strawberry preserves, and top with broken pieces of meringue (store- or bakery-bought). Spoon on a thick layer of pureed frozen unsweetened strawberries, then a thick layer of pastry cream. Swirl lightly (it will swirl itself a bit), then top with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle the top with a little crumbled meringue and a handful of berries.

-- Very Simple Ginger Trifle with Grapes. Layer the bottom of a trifle bowl with two layers of ginger snaps, douse them with brandy. Top with a layer of green seedless grapes (halved, if you like) then a layer of half sour cream/half whipped cream, lightly sweetened and flavored with a bit of grated orange zest. Serve garnished with fresh grapes and crumbs of ginger snaps.

-- Banana Coconut Cream Trifle. Layer the bottom of a trifle bowl with ladyfingers, douse with dark rum, then more ladyfingers and another dousing. Layer several sliced bananas (toss with lemon to keep them from discoloring), pastry cream, a sprinkling of dried sweetened coconut, and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Lightly toast a handful of the coconut in an ungreased pan; cool, then sprinkle on the top as a garnish, along with a ring of sliced bananas around the top.

     

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