Christmas pear & chocolate tiramisu trifle

Christmas pear & chocolate tiramisu trifle

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(6 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 2 hrs Plus chilling

More effort

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: per serving

  • kcal777
  • fat55g
  • saturates33g
  • carbs62g
  • sugars61g
  • fibre2g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.26g
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    For the chocolate cake layer

    • 200g bar dark chocolate, broken into chunks
      Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

      Dark chocolate

      dahk chok-o-let

      Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

    • 225g unsalted butter, plus extra
    • 225g golden caster sugar
    • 5 large eggs, separated

    For the poached pears

    • 6 firm pears, peeled



      Like apples, to which they are related, pears come in thousands of varieties, of which only a…

    • 1 vanilla pod, split

    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
      Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

      Dark chocolate

      dahk chok-o-let

      Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

    • 5 tbsp very strong coffee (John uses espresso)


    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.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    9th Feb, 2014
    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.
    26th Nov, 2012
    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
    30th Dec, 2011
    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.
    25th Dec, 2011
    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!
    7th Dec, 2011
    Have only found this recipe. Sounds devine, will try it for Christmas.
    9th Dec, 2010
    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.
    27th Nov, 2010
    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.
    29th Apr, 2010
    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
    3rd Dec, 2009
    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.
    24th Nov, 2009
    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
    Rebekka Turner's picture
    Rebekka Turner
    17th Dec, 2017
    Does the cake layer require flour? As there is no mention of it included?
    18th Nov, 2015
    Do you know whether I would be able to make this now and freeze it till Christmas day? Looks amazing!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    10th Dec, 2015
    Unfortunately, we don't think this will come out of the freezer that successfully, but it can be made 2 days ahead.
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