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    Almond, Pear and Cinnamon Trifle

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    Almond, Pear and Cinnamon Trifle

    The sponge can be made in advance and frozen. The custard should be made a day ahead so it has time to cool and thicken. You could replace the pears with 5 sliced bananas - toss them in the lemon juice with 1-2 tbsp rum and proceed as below.

    • Preparation time: 40 minutes
    • Cooking time: 1 hour for sponge
    • Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes 60 minutes 40 minutes

    Serves: 8 - 10


    • Custard
    • 115g caster sugar
    • 425ml creamy breakfast milk
    • 1 small cinnamon stick, broken in half
    • 6 medium egg yolks
    • Sponge
    • 170g softened butter
    • 170g caster sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 70g plain flour, sifted
    • 100g ground almonds
    • ½ tsp almond extract
    • 85ml dessert wine
    • To assemble
    • 8 amaretti biscuits, very roughly broken
    • 5-6 tbsp Calvados
    • 4-5 ripe pears
    • ½ lemon, juiced
    • 450ml double cream
    • To decorate
    • Edible silver leaf
    • Shards of cinnamon, or
    • sugar-coated almonds


    1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Butter and flour a 20cm springform cake tin.
    2. Start the custard: place the milk, cinnamon and half the sugar in a saucepan. Stir over a medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring slowly to the boil. Just before it bubbles, turn off the heat and cover. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, beat the butter and sugar for the sponge until pale and fluffy. Beat in one egg, followed by a third of the flour. Repeat until all is used. Stir in the ground almonds, then the almond extract and wine. Spoon the mix into the cake tin and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out and place on a cooling rack. Once cold, wrap. If making ahead, freeze until needed.
    4. Meanwhile, continue with the custard. Remove the cinnamon from the milk. Fill a large bowl with ice and a little cold water, then rest a second bowl on top. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining sugar into the eggs until they leave a trail. Slowly mix in the warm milk, stirring all the time, then return to the saucepan. Set over a low heat and continue to stir until the custard is as thick as runny double cream. Do not let the custard boil. If it gets too hot, lift off the heat for a while, still stirring all the time. Once it reaches the required thickness, quickly pour through a sieve into the iced bowl and continue to stir until tepid. To prevent it forming a skin, press some buttered greaseproof paper over the surface. Cover and chill until needed.
    5. When you're ready to assemble the trifle, cut the sponge into diamonds and mix with the biscuits. Put in the base of your trifle bowl, then drizzle with 4-5 tbsp Calvados.
    6. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Slice, then toss in the lemon juice and remaining Calvados. Place on the sponge. Spoon over the custard. Whip the cream lightly and spoon over the custard in rough peaks. Decorate as you wish.

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