Trifle of Mulled Pears
Ingredients (serves 6):
For the mulled wine:
500ml x good red wine,
150g x sugar,
6 x cloves,
Zest x1 lime
Zest and juice of 2 x clementines,
100ml x orange juice,
1 x sticks cinnamon,
1 x star anise
1 x bay leaf
Grating of nutmeg,
½ cut and split vanilla pod,
For the trifle:
3 x firm Williams’s pears, peeled
2 x peeled granny smith apples
100g x frozen cranberries, or a punnet of fresh redcurrants or blackberries
3 x whole peeled clementines or satsumas, pulled into segments
Juice of half a lemon.
5x leaves of gelatine (or agar agar - follow packet instructions to set 500ml)
Approx 15 x sponge fingers (or trifle sponge cut into chunks/Madeira cake slices)
425ml thick custard
150g soft mascarpone
350ml whipping cream (only half whipped)
1 tbsp icing sugar
100g white chocolate
20g dark chocolate (optional)
30g toasted almonds (optional)
Mint leaves to garnish. (optional)
First, make the mulled wine base. Heat a large saucepan and add the sugar and all dry ingredients, then add a splash of the wine just to cover and simmer rapidly so mixture becomes a syrup consistency.
Next, add the pears remaining red wine, then bring to a simmer. Cover with a disc of grease-proof paper, and simmer pears until just soft (this will take around 12 minutes). Take pan off the heat and tip the mixture into a container,
Place the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften, then take 500ml of the mulled wine and drain through a sieve into a clean pan. Warm it on the hob, then squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and stir into the drained mulled wine until dissolved before removing from the heat.
Chop the poached pears and the apples into even, bite-sized chunks, and place with the cranberries and clementine segments into the base of a roughly sized 20cm/8inch trifle/pudding bowl. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, then mix the fruit with your hands.
Then, lay over sponge fingers to roughly cover the fruit, and pour over the mulled wine, Cover with clingfilm, and set in fridge for 11/2 hrs, or until your jelly has set,
For the next stage, pour your custard over the bottom layer, ensuring even coverage. Using a whisk, fold the mascarpone and icing sugar into the soft whipped cream until smooth, and then place into a piping bag, then pipe peaks all over the custard.
To finish, grate the white chocolate over the top of your dessert using a fine grater, and sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top. You can also add a touch of grated dark chocolate too, if you fancy it!
Now your trifle is ready to eat, so grab a spoon, and dig straight in! Or, if you're keeping it for the big day, then hide it well away from hungry mouths, or it'll b e demolished before you know it.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves to serve.