just a spoonful. [autumn trifle w. roasted apples, pears & pumpkin-caramel sauce]

October 4th, 2011 by | comments

Since it seems everyone else has jumped on the pumpkin band wagon except me, I figured I’d fix that over the weekend. Though pumpkin isn’t the star of this dessert, the flavor is still recognizable.

This trifle is as decadent as it looks. One large spoonful will surely fill you up, complete with apples and pears roasted in browned butter, creamy cinnamon pastry cream, silky pumpkin-caramel sauce and soft ladyfingers soaked in Sherry. Told you it was rich.

If you’re looking to impress guests on Thanksgiving, I think this dessert would do the trick. :)

Thank you to Jaime over at A Dash of Domestic for passing the Versatile Blogger Award to me!

Cinnamon pastry cream recipe:

6 large egg yolks

2 cups half & half

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Whisk yolks and 1/2 cup milk in large bowl. Add sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until sugar dissolves. Bring 1 1/2 cups milk to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk milk into yolk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Cook until custard thickens and boils, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to medium bowl. Add butter and stir until melted. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Pumpkin-caramel sauce recipe:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin


Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and cook until mixture is deep amber, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes (mixture will be grainy). Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Stir until caramel bits dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin; stir until heated. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Roasted fruit recipe:

3 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix apples, pears, and lemon juice in large bowl. Place butter on rimmed baking sheet. Heat in oven until butter melts and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add fruit to baking sheet and toss with butter. Roast until fruit is soft and golden, turning with metal spatula every 15 minutes, about 1 hour. Cool fruit on sheet.


3 1/2 dozen (about) soft ladyfingers

1/3 cup dry Sherry

2 cups chilled whipping cream

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

8 1/8-inch-thick slices Bosc pear

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Place ladyfingers, flat side up, on baking sheet. Brush with Sherry. Line bottom of 2- or 3-quart glass trifle dish with single layer of ladyfingers, Sherry side up. Line bottom edge with 1 row of ladyfingers, Sherry side in, pressing gently against dish. Spoon half of pastry cream into lined dish; smooth top. Cover with half of fruit. Drizzle 1/2 cup caramel sauce over. Line edge of dish with second row of ladyfingers, Sherry side in. Cover fruit with single layer of ladyfingers. Spoon remaining pastry cream over. Cover with remaining fruit. Drizzle fruit with 1/2 cup caramel sauce. Line edge of dish with third row of ladyfingers, Sherry side in. Chill at least 6 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla in bowl until mixture holds peaks. Fill pastry bag fitted with large rosette tip with whipped cream and pipe over trifle (or spoon whipped cream over). (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead; chill.) Drizzle whipped cream with 2 tablespoons caramel sauce. Brush pear slices with lemon juice; arrange decoratively atop whipped cream. Serve, passing remaining caramel sauce separately.

Recipe from Epicurious.

// share //
  • So many delicious components! This looks great! I’m a little behind on the pumpkin too but seeing so many delicious pumpkin recipes is inspiring me and making me crave pumpkin!

    • I know, that’s exactly how I was…craving pumpkin! Thanks so much, Stefanie.

  • This looks amazing. Sure to impress any day. All the flavors coming together there, just sounds delicious!

  • egg me on

    This would definitely impress anyone, at any meal. So many great flavors: apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, caramel, ladyfingers … wow!

    • Want some?? That massive bowl is sitting in my fridge and I can’t eat the entire thing myself. Unless I want to gain 50 lbs. Might be worth it though…ha!

  • What I like the most is the presence of a few healthy ingredients (apples, pears, lemon…). And the topping somehow makes me think of a meringue…

    • Except the fact that the apples and pears are roasted in brown butter. Sorry to burst the ‘healthy’ bubble, ha!

  • Sorry, but the pumpkin bandwagon is full up. OK, we’ll make room for you if I can hold that trifle! Love all the flavors and layers.

    • How kind of you! I can squeeze, no problem. As long as you guys help me eat the trifle then we’re good to go.

  • Oh my! each step (beautifully documented – thank you) is delicious in its own right – then put together is dreamy :)

    • Dreamy indeed! The cinnamon pastry cream is unreal, definitely my favorite component. Thanks Mary!

  • You have an open invitation to Thanksgiving at our house! :) This looks delicious – and rich! Oh so very rich! I just finished my lunch and yet now I feel so unsatisfied. ;)

    • I would be honored to be a guest at your dinner! I can’t even imagine all of the amazing food you’re going to have. Thanks so much! I would honestly ship some of this dessert your way if I thought it could last through the travel. I have way too much leftover!

  • Caroline, why do you always make the recipes that make me soooo hungry? It is the most amazing trifle I have ever seen (and probably the most complicated too! Congratulations for your creativity and patience and congratulations for the award! )

    • Haha, I’m sorry! Thanks so much Sissi, you’re too sweet. xx

  • Looks like everyday really SHOULD be Thanksgiving day. And give Jamie my thanks as well…
    bless you

    • Though I would gain a massive amount of weight, I fully support that idea. I’m already anticipating Thanksgiving (kind of forgot about Halloween). Will do, Paul!

  • This is what I like most about fall… everything calls for pumpkins. This looks beyond delicious.

    • I completely agree! I’m already on the hunt for some new pumpkin recipes. Thanks so much. xx

  • I like that bowl with two spoons please! Wow, talk about rich and talk about layer upon layer of flavor!! I’m not sure I could wait until Thanksgiving for this one!!

    • I know, right? It’s extremely rich…and that’s putting it lightly! I’m sure I’ll be making it again before Thanksgiving.

  • holy moley, I loooooove trifles. there’s a wonderful pumpkin trifle at Sugar Sweet Sunshine in NYC that I can’t get enough of…looks very different from this one though, which also looks incredible.

    • OOoo I wish I would have known (I was in NY a couple of months ago), considering I eat my way through the city every time I go. Thank you!

  • Wow, Caroline, this trifle looks amazing! I could just eat a bowl full of the cinnamon pastry cream and pumpkin caramel sauce and I’d be happy!

    • My thoughts exactly! The pastry cream is seriously pure heaven…fattening heaven, that is. But way worth it. Thanks Mandy! xx

  • I have never had a trifle before – maybe because I relate them to the episode on Friends where Rachel makes it with beef and peas! But this, this is a definite reason to try one.

    • Haha!! Very different version of a trifle. That’s too funny.

  • I dont want a spoonful, I want a bowlful of this goodness

  • Caroline – look at how gorgeous your trifle is! The apple layout and the swirls of caramel… OMG. I’ve never made trifle before but if I do, this is the one!!

    • I’m pretty sure you’d love it as much as I did. Now what to do with the massive bowl sitting in my fridge! Thanks Kelly. xx

  • –Sweet Caroline,
    This indeed looks “SWEEET!!: WOW. X

    • Verrrrrry sweet, ha! Thanks love.

  • Beautiful looking sweet treat. Great job Caroline!

  • This looks great – I’m making easy pumpkin cake batter cupcakes right now haha – easy but nearly as epic as this!

    • NOT nearly as epic. wow.

      • Mmmm those cupcakes sound amazing. Possible post?? :)

  • you have made this dessert look absolutely delectable :)

  • Oh how fabulous – I would love some of that right now with a cup of tea please.
    Have a happy day.
    :-) Mandy

    • Please have at! Hope you’re having a great day as well, Mandy.

  • This looks just incredible! YUM!

  • Fabulous flavours…so many delicious elements in this mouthwatering autumn pie!

  • Very interesting – pumpkin caramel sauce! I would love to try that

    • Oh boy, it’s sinful. The cinnamon pastry cream is even more dangerous, if that’s possible!

  • talk about dress to impress! Wow, this is phenomenal. I love it, the flavors and the overall look is simply tempting! Pumpkin caramel sauce- need I say more?

    • Thank you so much! I was tempted to eat the caramel sauce straight out of the bowl.

  • Yay, you can’t beat a good trifle, but it’s not often that I see people innovating in the “traditional” one… fruit, jelly, cream etc. Really nice to see alternative ingredients. How deliciously different!

    • I completely agree, Charles. Always nice to switch it up!

  • OMG…that first picture is making me drool…what a clever idea for fall..love the apples, pears & pumpkin combo with all the creaminess!

    • Come on over and have some! I know, I think that all of the flavors just scream fall. I’m already looking for some more pumpkin recipes. :)

  • I just love this autumn trifle.. it looks amazing. I am definitely getting a sweet tooth now with all these food blogs lol.

    • Yeesh, I bet you are! Especially with all of these pumpkin desserts floating around the blogosphere. Thanks Kay! xx

  • Why have I never had cinnamon pastry cream! Heaven

    • You must give it a try! Honestly, pure heaven.

  • This looks too pretty to eat and i love the fall fruit combo with pumpkin. Very creative!

    • Thank you Lisa! If only it were a bit healthier….

  • Ann

    This really looks stunning…what lovely flavors and the presentation is stunning! (did I mention it looks SO delicious?)

  • The pear is decorated so beautifully! I’ve never made trifle before (so as many other dessert…) but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it… I LOVE this. Roasted apples must go well with pumpkin. Thinking about it makes my mouth water and makes me hungry! What a wonderful recipe~~~!

    • Aw, you’re way too sweet Nami. I’m so glad you approve, considering you’re the food presentation queen! Thank you. xx

  • Yum! The pumpkin caramel sauce sounds to die for!

    • I would be content just eating the caramel sauce plain, ha!

  • The pumpkin caramel sauce that was the word Caroline I am so making this over the weekend for my friends. But I am not revealing my secret for the recipe. Let them think I can be creative cook.

    • Right? Can’t go wrong! You’ll have to let me know how it turns out if you give it a try. Your secret is safe with me. ;)

  • Oh my. This looks heavenly. So fluffy, autumn-y and fabulous! This would be quite the show stopper for a dinner party.

    • Fluffy is the perfect word, Geni. Thanks so much! xx

  • I’ve never seen a trifle like this. My mother-in-law makes one but hers is nothing like yours (shhh don’t tell her). This is so beautiful and decadent!

    • Ha! My lips are sealed. Thanks so much. xx

  • You went all out :) I haven’t jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon either yet, ha!

    • It’s a good band wagon to be on…hop on. ;) haha, sorry that was cheesy. But really, I can’t get enough of pumpkin.

  • I have an award for you – stop by my site to check it out!

    • Thank you so much, Erin! I gave you a shout out on my post today. xx

  • Great way to usher in the changing of the seasons! Nice work, sweet one!

    • Agreed! I love fall flavors. Thanks so much. :)

  • All I can say is WOW!

  • I bookmarked this one! Totally making this for Thanksgiving, it looks good enough to eat through the screen!

  • This looks incredible too! I can’t wait to prepare some of these for my own thanksgiving feast!

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