Poached Pear Trifles
I’m slowly learning that parenting is approximately 20% trickery. Whether it be with potty training, getting dressed for school, or even coercing them into (or out of) the bath, I often find myself leaning on trickery to get my kids to do what I want them to do. Awesome parenting, right?
Take for instance eating new foods. The current battle royale in our home is convincing my kids that they will like a food they’ve never tried before. Now don’t be fooled into thinking this issue lies specifically with fruits, vegetable, or other decidedly “healthy” foods. No, it seems that when my children come under the notion that they will not like a food they will simply refuse to eat it, often with little reason at all. This morning, Aimee decided she didn’t want bagels with cream cheese and jam. Yes, you read right- bagels. She took one look at it and had a near meltdown. Did I know she would like the bagel? Yes. Was I sure it would take only one bite for her to fall in love with those chewy rounds of bread? For sure. But you try convincing a strong-willed 4-year-old of that. Impossible.
In some respect, I understand. I have tricked them into eating out of the ordinary dishes before. There was the sushi incident of 2015 and that one time I tried to pass off spaghetti squash as actual noodles. No amount of butter can turn cauliflower into real mashed potatoes, and I know my kids don’t believe me when I tell them their plain Greek yogurt is the same thing their friends eat out of plastic tubes at school. So in a way, experience has taught them they can’t take me at my word. Again, awesome parenting, right?
If we’re being completely transparent, there’s a lot of foods I simply won’t spring for either. The best example I can come up with right now is when people try to pass off non-dessert items as dessert. Like, a cheese plate? Not dessert. Diet wafers? I’d rather not. When I indulge in dessert I really want it to satisfy my sweet tooth in a special and indulgent way, so even things like fruit, for me, don’t work as a dessert. That is, until these poached pear trifles.
A pear, on it’s own, wouldn’t really send me over the edge into dessert bliss. But what if that pear had been poached in cinnamon and red wine? What if they were layered with perfect, buttery French madeleines and a creamy whipped filling? What if the whole thing was topped with sugary-spiced nuts? TOTALLY DESSERT.
I’m sharing today’s recipe for these poached pear trifled with Donsuemor, the makers of the most delicious French madeleines. Made with the very best ingredients and no preservatives or artificial coloring, Donsuemor’s madeleines are dessert all on their own but extra-special when layered in a festive holiday dish like this. Although I ordered online, you can pick these little guys up at Costco and the rest of your desserts are history! You can use them in place of lady fingers in tiramisu, serve them alongside bowls of homemade ice cream, or even dip them in melted chocolate and crushed candies for a semi-homemade treat. I love from-scratch desserts as much as the next person, but in a treat like these poached pear trifles, it’s worth relying on a trustworthy brand to do some legwork for you.
To make these poached pear trifles we start with the pears. Peeled and quartered pears are cooked in a red wine, sugar, and cinnamon mixture until the pears are soft to a fork. Throw in a handful of fresh cranberries to cook until soft and then remove the fruit to cool. Let the wine mixture continue to cook until slightly reduced and thickened. In the meantime you can prep the filling! I’ve made this filling both with mascarpone and cream cheese, so you can use whichever you prefer. Mascarpone cheese definitely changes the texture of the filling in a way that I didn’t prefer as much as the cream cheese, but you can make that choice for yourself. Simply whip with heavy cream until the mixture is lightly fluffed. Orange zest is added for just a smidge of flavor too.
Both the pears and the cream can be made slightly in advance and layered in with the madeleines just before serving. Add some wine syrup to the bottom of a glass with some of the fruit, top with a madeleine and cream, and then repeat the process again. I finished the dish off with fresh pomegranate and candied nuts, but this is entirely optional. These poached pear trifles just scream FANCY and are perfect for this holiday time of year. I hope you’ll give them a try in the coming weeks and check out Donsuemor’s site for more info on these yummy little bites.
Wish me luck in the “tricking your toddler” department. So far I’m losing that battle, but I think there’s still plenty of hope. Happy Friday to you all and happy baking!
This post is sponsored by Donsuemor. Thank you for supporting brands that make Wood and Spoon possible.
If you like these poached pear trifles you should check out:
Poached Pear Trifles
These poached pear trifles feature red-wine soaked fruit, a fluffy and tangy whipped filling, and buttery homemade madeleines. Adapt the recipe to make anywhere from 4 to 8 servings!
- Prep Time: 60
- Total Time: 90
- Yield: 8
For the pears:
- 1 bottle mild red wine (I used a red table blend)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2-1/2 pounds of pears (I used Barletts), peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¾ cup fresh cranberries (optional)
For the cream:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 French Madeleines (I use Donsuemor)
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Candied walnuts, pecans, or almonds, if desired
To prepare the pears:
- Combine the wine and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat, and, while stirring, allow the sugar to dissolve into the wine. Once dissolved, add the pears and cinnamon stick and simmer over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes until soft to a fork. Time will differ depending on the ripeness of your fruit. Once done, carefully remove the fruit and continue cooking the wine to reduce it another 30 minutes. If you wish to use cranberries, add them in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. The berries will burst and lose their shape the longer they cook, so I recommend only cooking up to 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool if you’re making in advance, otherwise allow it to cool to taste.
To prepare the cream:
- Cream the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in a large bowl until combined. Add the heavy whipping cream and beat on medium speed until thick enough to hold its shape. Add in the orange zest and vanilla and mix just to combine. Set aside in fridge until you’re ready to assemble your trifles.
To assemble the trifles:
- Determine if you’d like to make 8 smaller (Weck Jar Sized) or 4 larger (as in the glasses shown here) trifles. If your pear mixture has been chilled, feel free to rewarm to a comfortable temperature briefly. Cut the pears into large chunks if you wish the trifles to be eaten easily with a spoon and stir them in with the cranberries and wine. Spoon a small layer of this mixture into the bottom of each dish and dollop a layer of cream on top of that. Pinch off a few pieces of madeleine to place on top of the cream and repeat the layering of the wine and pears with the cream once more. Finish each trifle with a half of a madeleine coming out of the trifle and garnish with pomegranate seeds, nuts, and additional cranberries and pears, if desired. Serve immediately. If you wish to make these ahead you can serve them cold.
- You can use mascarpone cheese in place of the cream cheese although the texture will change.