Christmas pear & chocolate tiramisu trifle

Christmas pear & chocolate tiramisu trifle

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(6 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 2 hrs Plus chilling

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 10

The perfect end to a Boxing Day banquet, John Torode's dessert combines an Italian classic with British seasonal fruit

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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For the chocolate cake layer

  • 200g bar dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 225g unsalted butter, plus extra
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated

For the poached pears

For the mascarpone layer

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 150ml marsala
  • 2 x 250g tubs mascarpone

To finish

  • 100g dark chocolate, grated
  • 5 tbsp very strong coffee (John uses espresso)

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  1. For the cake, melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool. Meanwhile, heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and butter and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
  2. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until very pale and thick, about 5 mins. Fold in the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon. Put the egg whites and a pinch of salt into another bowl and, with clean beaters, whisk until you have medium peaks. Fold this gently but thoroughly into the chocolate mix with your metal spoon, then spoon into the tin and bake for 1½ hrs until risen all over. Insert a skewer into the middle of the tin to test; it should come out with just a few damp crumbs but no wet mix. The cake will sink once it cools. Can be frozen up to 1 month ahead.
  3. While the cake cooks, put the pears, vanilla pod and 1 litre water into a saucepan. Weigh the pears down under the surface with a small plate, then simmer for 20 mins, covered, until tender. Leave to cool in the liquid if you have time. Cut each pear into 6 long slices, then remove the stalk and the core. Can be cooked up to a week ahead and kept chilled in some of their poaching liquid.
  4. For the mascarpone layer, half-fill a medium saucepan with water, then bring to a simmer. Put the yolks, sugar and 6 tbsp of the Marsala into a large bowl, sit it over the just-simmering water, then whisk for 5 mins until the mixture is thick and holds a trail for a few secs. Put the mascarpone into a bowl, beat with 2 tbsp more Marsala to loosen, then whisk in the egg mix in 2 batches, until smooth, thick and light. Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge. Keep no longer than 2 days in total.
  5. You’re now ready to assemble the trifle. Cut the cake in half – it will be squidgy, so don’t worry if it breaks up. Spoon some of the mascarpone layer into the bottom of a dish, then top with a few pears and a sprinkling of grated chocolate. Put half of the cake on top, then sprinkle with a little of the remaining Marsala and coffee. Spoon more of the mascarpone over, then top with more pears and more chocolate. Top this with the next piece of cake, spoon over more Marsala and coffee, then spoon the remaining mascarpone mix over the top. Finish with the remaining pears. Chill for at least 2 hrs, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, scatter with the last of the grated chocolate.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2009

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Show comments
kizzycat's picture

I made this dessert to take to friends today and it was very well received. I did cheat slightly by buying a chocolate loaf cake, due to lack of time and used pears that I had previously poached and frozen from our tree last year. Unlike some of the other reviews, I had no problem with the mascarpone cream, which was delicious. I will certainly make this trifle again.

kez10uk's picture
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I made this at the weekend, for the family to try to see what they thought of it, before preparing one to take to my parents on Christmas Day.
To be honest, we were all very disappointed............
I would recommend making it in stages as it is very time consuming doing all three stages at once, I was in the kitchen for over 2 hours faffing about.
The pears are Devine and i will definitely do them again on their own but the tiramisu trifle lacked the wow factor for me and won't be making again.

mother_ship's picture
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I made this for Christmas day pudding, although I admit I cheated a bit and used the Delia method for the tiramisu layer to make it simpler, and the result was very delicious. So I would say great combination of flavours but slightly over complicated method.

tracy1rivera's picture

I also had a problem with the cream mixture. I think it's the quality of the mascarpone, it was very thick and butter-like, and on beating siezed up, even before adding any other ingredients.
No dessert for Christmas dinner!

lisagally's picture

Have only found this recipe. Sounds devine, will try it for Christmas.

hutchinson's picture

made this last year for Christmas day and it is absolutely delicious. I had a bit of trouble making the mascapone layer and ended up putting whipped cream in to make it thicken up. The end result was lovely though and even nicer on boxing day - making again this year.

suelane3672's picture
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Did this for xmas dessert last year as a change from James Martin's Raspberry and White Choc Trifle that I usually HAVE to make (plus for friends to take for their lunches!!!) This year am gonna do mini individual versions of each so everyones happy.

carolron's picture
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This pudding was a disaster and so disappointing as it wasn't cheap to make. I suggest that the recipe stated that you had to allow the mixture to cool before adding to the cold mixture. I didn't and that resulted in a curdled mess!

kathryndonna's picture

I'm going to try it on Boxing Day. For an alcohol free version I would imagine you can use any type of fruit juice - either apple or cranberry would probably be nice, or try mixing the juice with some ginger syrup for a bit of a kick.

shell81's picture
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This recipe looks great, wondered if you can replace the marsala with anything else or just leave it out? as would like to serve it on xmas day and have young children x x x