Poached Pear Trifles

Poached Pear Trifles with wine pears, cranberries, pomegranate, Donsuemor madeleines and a creamy whipped filling. These trifles are sweet and tangy and boozy all at the same time. First up are red wine and cinnamon poached pears and cranberries that are cooked until soft. These are layered with a cream cheese or mascarpone whipped filling scented with orange zest, French madeleines, and more fresh fruit! Make these treats for a fancy holiday gathering. You can make large trifles or smaller individual ones. Recipe on by Kate Wood

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!


For the pears:

  • 1 bottle mild red wine (I used a red table blend)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 21/2 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

Additional items:

  • 6 French Madeleines (I use Donsuemor)
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Candied walnuts, pecans, or almonds, if desired


To prepare the pears:

  1. 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:

  1. 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:

  1. 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.