Wine-Poached Pear Trifle


Red wine poached pears make for the perfect twist on the classic fruit trifle. Vanilla cake layered with poached pears and fluffy hazelnut cream will be the star of the dinner party!

Wine-Poached Pear Trifle
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Bake Time:
40 mins
Cool Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 55 mins


Wine-Poached Pears

  • 10 medium Bartlett or Comice Pears (about 4 pounds 6 ounces)

  • 2 750 milliliter bottle light bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir, or 6-1/4 cups cranberry juice

  • 1 ¼ cup sugar

  • ½ cup fresh cranberries

Vanilla Cake

  • 2 large eggs

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

  • ½ cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Hazelnut Cream

  • 8 ounce mascarpone cheese

  • 1 cup whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoon sugar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Streusel Topping

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted



  1. Peel, halve, and core pears. In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven combine wine and the 1-1/4 cups sugar. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add pears. Place parchment or a plate on top of the pears to keep them submerged in the wine. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until pears are soft (knife inserted goes in easily). Remove the pears from the liquid using a slotted spoon. Cool pears to room temperature. Slice pears, if desired. Return the poaching liquid to a gentle boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until liquid is syrupy and has reduced to 2 cups. Stir in cranberries. Set aside to cool.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8x1 1/2-inch round cake pans (or a size close to the diameter of the trifle dish).* Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper. Grease and flour pans. In a medium mixing bowl beat the eggs, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until thick. In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium heat until hot. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Slowly stir hot milk into egg mixture. Stir in 1 cup flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Divide the batter between the pans; spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.


  1. In a medium mixing bowl beat mascarpone, whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until thick. Stir in 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Cover and chill until ready to assemble trifle.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl combine 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, and the 1/8 teaspoon salt until crumbly. Spread in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice. Cool. Place streusel in a large self-sealing plastic bag. Crush with a rolling pin, leaving some large pieces. Stir in the 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts.


  1. LAYER 1: In a 9-inch diameter straight-side trifle dish layer Wine-Poached pears and reduced poaching liquid, reserving some pear slices and cranberries for the top.

  2. LAYER 2: Place one Vanilla Cake layer on pears.

  3. LAYER 3: Spoon three-fourths of the Hazelnut Cream on the cake.

  4. LAYER 4: Top with second Vanilla Cake layer.

  5. LAYER 5: Top with remaining Hazelnut Cream, the streusel topping,** and reserved pears.

  6. Cover and refrigerate leftovers up to 24 hours.


*Choose cake pans that are close to the same diameter as your trifle dish. If necessary, trim cake layers to fit the dish.


**Reserve remaining streusel for another use, such as sprinkling over ice cream or cut up fresh fruit.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

482 Calories
19g Fat
59g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 482
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 139mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Total Sugars 41g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 4.7mg 24%
Calcium 60.6mg 5%
Iron 1.1mg 6%
Potassium 214mg 5%
Folate, total 36.3mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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