2½ cups cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
1T vanilla paste or extract
1T butter, cold
2 cups pears, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (about 2-3 pears). Use Bartlett, Anjou, or Comic
1 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted
1 cup sliced almonds toasted
½ cup toasted, shredded coconut
1pkg ladyfinger biscuits/cookie, (24 biscuits)
1 cup apricot jam
½ cup Amaretto liquor
1 cup heavy whipped cream
3T confectioner’s sugar
12 half pint jars with lids
1. Custard: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk, cream until hot, but not boiling.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk together until light in color and well blended. Add a cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Now pour the warmed egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking constantly.
3. Return the pan to the stove and stir until mixture thickens, about 6-8 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and pass through a fine strainer. Stir in the butter and let cool completely. Place a piece of parchment or plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that it doesn’t form a skin.
5. In a small bowl, combine the pears and raspberries. Mix until combined. Set aside.
6. In a small bowl, combine the toasted nuts and coconut. Mix until combined and set aside.
7. In a bowl with a whisk/beater, whip the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks are formed. Set aside.
8. Place the ladyfinger biscuits on a baking sheet pan and spread each one with jam. Sprinkle the amaretto on top of the biscuits.
9. Break a biscuit in half and place the pieces, jam side up on the bottom of a jar, pushing them down.
10. Add a tablespoon of the custard, then a tablespoon of the pear-berry mixture.
11. Sprinkle some of the nut-coconut mixture on top.
12. Repeat with another layer of biscuit, custard, and fruit.
13. Top with the whipped cream. Decorate the top with nut-coconut mixture. Cover with lid. Repeat with the remaining jars.
14. Refrigerate 3 hours (or overnight is better) before serving.
15. To serve, tie a bow around each jar, place on dessert plate and serve.
• Nuts: To roast nuts: preheat oven 350º F. Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Shake the pan and continue baking until nuts are toasted, about 3-5 minutes more. Let them cool. The roasted nuts can be store in an airtight container for weeks.
• Coconut: To toast coconut: preheat oven 350º F. Place coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until coconut is slightly brown (not all the coconut will become brown).
TIPS & TRICKS
• Trick to test if custard is cooked enough: stir the custard with a wooden spoon. It should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, and when you draw a line with your finger, it holds. Custard can be made 2 days ahead.
• In the winter months, I like to use a combination of pears and frozen berries, or you can use just the frozen berries. In the summer months, I use fresh berries and stone fruits or a combination of both. This is just the best dessert for a crowd!
• Chopped walnuts, pecans, also work well too!
• You can use pound cake instead of ladyfinger biscuits.
• Change the jam to match your fruit. Strawberry and raspberry work as well.
• As you change the fruit and jams, you can change the liquor. Traditionally trifle is made with sherry, but you could also use Cointreau, cassis, or Bourbon.
• The trifle is traditionally served in a trifle bowl. I thought it would be fun and festive to have each guest have his or her own little dessert to resemble a present. You can also make the trifle in a large glass bowl. You might not need to break the biscuit into pieces if the container you are using is larger than the jars.
• The trifle cans be assemble 2 days ahead.