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.

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85 thoughts on “just a spoonful. [autumn trifle w. roasted apples, pears & pumpkin-caramel sauce]”

  1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

  3. 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…

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

  5. 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. ;)

    1. 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!

  6. 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! )

    1. 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!

  7. 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!!

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

  8. 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.

    1. 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!

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!!

    1. 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

  11. 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!

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

    1. 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. :)

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

  14. 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~~~!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

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