Prep Time: 6 Hours
Yields: 10-12 Servings
To show off the layers in this beautiful winter trifle, use a 12-cup trifle dish measuring about 8 inches across and 5 inches deep. To help save time, the pears and mousse can be prepared a day ahead and chilled overnight.
Ingredients for Spiced Pears:
5 large Anjou pears, peeled
1 (750-mL) bottle dry white wine
2 cups pear juice or nectar
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
4 rounds peeled fresh ginger, ¨û-inch thick
2 cinnamon sticks, halved
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients for spiced pears except pears. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add pears and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer approximately 35 minutes or until pears are just tender when pierced with a knife. Transfer contents of saucepan to a large bowl and refrigerate approximately 3 hours or until cold. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a plate. Return poaching liquid to a heavy saucepan and boil over medium-high heat 15 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups. Strain liquid and discard spices. Cover syrup and pears separately and chill until cold.
Ingredients for Mousse:
7 ounces white chocolate
1/3 cup clear pear brandy
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
Method for Mousse:
In the top bowl of a double boiler, combine white chocolate, pear brandy and water. Place bowl over simmering water and stir until smooth. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean then discard bean. Transfer white chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Gradually add mascarpone, whisking until mixture is smooth. Allow mixture to cool until barely warm. In a separate mixing bowl, beat 1 cup cream with an electric mixer until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture in 4 additions. Cover and chill mousse approximately 3 hours or until set.
Ingredients for Trifle Assembly:
reserved spiced pears (see above)
3 (3-ounce) packages soft ladyfingers, separated
reserved pear syrup (see above)
reserved white chocolate mousse (see above)
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
white chocolate curls for garnish
1 tbsp powdered sugar
Method for Trifle Assembly:
Cut cooked pears lengthwise in half and remove cores and stems. Cut halves lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices then set aside. In the bottom of a 12-cup trifle dish, arrange one layer of ladyfingers, rounded side down. Be sure to cover the bottom of dish completely. Drizzle 5 tablespoons pear syrup evenly over ladyfingers. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1/3 of the mousse over ladyfingers, making the layer slightly thicker around outer edges of dish. Starting at the outer edges of dish, place pear slices in a single layer with curved edges against sides of dish. Cover mousse completely. Repeat layers twice. Cover with a fourth layer of ladyfingers and drizzle evenly with 5 tablespoons of syrup. Reserve remaining pear syrup. Using an electric mixer, beat 2 cups heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup pear syrup and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer cream to a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe rosettes all over top of trifle, mounding slightly in center. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger and garnish with white chocolate curls. Sift powdered sugar over trifle just before serving.