• This twist on the traditional Christmas pudding is a real delight! Your guests will be wowed by this pear trifle and will even line up for seconds… and thirds! 

    Pear trifle

    Serves: 6
    Cooking Time: 55 minutes + 2 hours to chill


    • Pears and jelly

    • 750ml (3 cups) muscadel
    • 250ml (1 cup) water
    • 100g (½ cup) sugar
    • 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
    • 2 star anise
    • 6 pears, peeled
    • 20ml (4 tsp) gelatine powder or
    • 5 – 6 gelatine leaves
    • 60ml (¼ cup) water
    • Custard

    • 500ml (2 cups) milk
    • 3 cardamom pods
    • 4 pieces cassia
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 70g sugar
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) cornflour
    • Sponge

    • 2 extra large eggs
    • 140g castor sugar
    • 150g cake flour
    • 7,5ml (1½ tsp) baking powder
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) salt
    • 125ml (½ cup) milk, warm
    • 50g butter, melted
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) vanilla extract



    Pour muscadel, water, sugar, vanilla and star anise in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Place pears upright in the liquid. Poach over medium heat until golden and cooked but not too soft, 15 – 20 minutes. Remove pears, keep the liquid, and set aside.


    Line a 28 x 18cm cake tin with plastic wrap. Return poaching liquid to heat and reduce to 750ml (3 cups) of liquid.


    Sponge gelatine and water together in a medium bowl.


    Remove the spices from the poaching liquid. Add 500ml (2 cups) of the warm poaching liquid to the gelatine and mix until dissolved. Pour the liquid into the prepared tray and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until set.


    Return the remaining liquid to the heat and reduce until syrupy. Set aside to cool.


    For the custard, combine the milk and spices in a medium saucepan over low heat. As soon as the milk starts to simmer turn off the heat and leave to infuse, 20 – 30 minutes.


    Combine yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl. While stirring continuously, add half of the spiced milk to the egg mixture. Return to saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, strain through a sieve and set aside.


    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line and grease a 28 x 18cm rectangular cake tin.


    For the sponge, cream the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.


    Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and fold into the egg mixture. Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a bowl and stir into the mixture.


    Pour into prepared tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack.


    To serve, cut the sponge and jelly into 9 x 9cm squares and layer on top of each other. Warm the pears in the microwave and place on top of the jelly. Drizzle with muscadel reduction and serve with warm spiced custard.