Sunday, 1 January 2017

Winter Ginger & Pear Trifle - gluten free

Best trifle EVER. Seriously! I have made and eaten a lot of trifles in my time, but this one tops them all. And it is with this trifle that I wish you all

Happy New Year!

Inspired by a comment left on my Jamaican Ginger Cake post back in November by Katie (of Apple & Spice fame) :'Try some (ginger cake) in the base of a trifle - It's amazing'..... I did and she's right! (I loved Katie's blog, but sadly she decided to give up posting. There are still some fantastic recipes to be found over there though....).  So thank you Katie. This one is a keeper for sure and perfect for the Winter season.

As with so many trifles in our house, this one was also devised to use up left overs, on this occasion from the many sponges I made to perfect my Ginger Cake recipe. If you don't have any left overs, then make some! This trifle is THAT good, it is worth every minute of effort just to try it.

The ginger cake in this trifle has been married with a layering of simple home-made pear and brown sugar compote. Pears are still amazing at this time of year and go really well with warming winter spices, so whilst we ummed and ahhed over all sorts of fruit combos for the cake, pear seemed the perfect choice.  Be sure to pick very firm pears and when making the compote, be careful not to over-cook them. The texture of the wet, slightly crisp pear against the soft, slightly sticky, alcohol-soaked cake is to die for!

Did I say alcohol? Surely no trifle is complete without a little added tipple and this one is no exception...... But which tipple to add was a bit of a conundrum! I wanted to work with whatever we had in the cupboard, but wasn't sure of natural pairings for the ginger. Several testers of liqueur-soaked cake cubes later (which were, I admit, more alcohol than cake), we settled on a happy dose of Cointreau for each serving. Feel free to make your own trifle tipple test-lab...... it's fun regardless of what you end up choosing!

As with any good trifle, this one has the standard custard and whipped cream layers, but for extra seasonal pizazz, it has been topped with a sprinkling of our favourite (crushed) home-made Ginger Biscuits. If you haven't made these biscuits, I really recommend them. They are incredibly crunchy, gingerly-warming and totally delicious. They are the perfect addition to the trifle to give a contrasting crunch against the pillowy soft wetness of the cream, custard and alcohol-soaked cake.

Being the season of decadence and piggery, the trifles are also topped with a sparkly twinkle of edible glitter and a very special Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Gingerbread Man. This ginger-infused cutie makes each trifle look as truly special as it tastes.......

Decadent, delicious, sumptuous, divine!

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted a darker coloured trifley imposter in the photos. Your eyes have not deceived you...... Miss GF decided she would prefer a non-alcoholic Black Forest Trifle for dessert on this occasion (with additional ginger biscuits and a chocolate ginger bread man, of course) and being the Christmas holiday, I obliged!

I am sharing (but only virtually) this incredible Winter Ginger & Pear Trifle with the following linkies :

No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Treat Petite with Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer

Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg

Other Trifles on Gluten Free Alchemist :

Boozy Orange & Strawberry
Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle
Lemon & Berry
'Angelic' Strawberry & Cointreau (with Angel Cake)
Nutella Trifle
Banoffee Coconut Crunch
Black Forest Trifle
Cupcake Trifles
Strawberry Trifle Cake

Winter Ginger & Pear Trifle


GF Jamaican Ginger Cake as from this recipe - cut into cubes
approx 500g pot good quality fresh custard
a few tablespoons Cointreau orange liqueur
approx 300 to 400 ml double cream
4 firm pears
2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
a few crunchy GF ginger biscuits (I used this recipe) - crushed
Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Gingerbread Men (or alternative to decorate)
edible glitter to decorate (optional)


  1. To make the Pear Compote : peel and core the pears and cut into cubes. 
  2. Place the pear with the brown sugar in a saucepan and heat stirring until the sugar dissolves and the pears begin to give off a little liquid. Turn down to a simmer and leave to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. Whipped cream : Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Set aside in the fridge until ready to assemble the trifles.
  4. To assemble the trifles : Take your chosen serving dish(es) and place a layer of ginger cake cubes in the base.
  5. Drizzle the cake layer with Cointreau.
  6. Top with a layer of pear compote and a little juice.
  7. On top of this add a layer of custard.
  8. Next repeat the layers of ginger cake, Cointreau and pear compote.
  9. Add a top layer of whipped cream.
  10. Sprinkle with some crushed ginger biscuits.
  11. Finally top with a chocolate gingerbread man (or alternative) and a sprinkle of magical edible glitter and enjoy!
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Oh my that does truly look decadent and delicious. I am bookmarking to make this come Christmas all over again, just hope I remember. It has the wow factor indeed. Its so sad to see so many good bloggers giving up on blogging, i do think the blogging world has changed immensely. Thank you Kate, wishing you the best for 2017 x

    1. Thank you Shaheen! I think there are so many extra blogging 'expectations' year on year that it is really hard to keep up if you are not at it full time! So far removed from the original intentions of a blog...... Oh well..... we can only do what we have time for xx

  2. Yay you tried it. Looks amazingly delicious. I wouldn't be able to choose between the black forest and the pear variety - guess I'd have to have both! Not thought of trying the cake soaked in Cointreau, will have to try that.
    Those chocolate gingerbread men are so cute.
    Have a wonderful 2017 :)

    1. I did and it was amazing! Thanks so much for the inspiration Katie. It was a seed of genius. You were in my mind as I made it.... so thank you and Happy New Year xx

  3. A trifle test lab does sound fun! These triffles are so pretty and I'd love the ginger one or the black forest one. Thank you so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice and happy new year x

    1. Thanks Corina. You're welcome. Both trifles looked pretty amazing! x

  4. So cute! You always do so well with your baking and you are very inventive. Happy new year to you too!

  5. These sound totally delicious - a ginger trifle is just genius! Definitely going to have to try it. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

  6. I saw these on my IG feed over Christmas and thought they looked so good. I love the flavoured and the addition of the gingerbread men! x

    1. Thanks Jenny. The pear was incredible with the ginger..... thoroughly recommend it. And the gingerbread men were so cute, I couldn't leave the shop without them! x

  7. Happy new year to you Kate. These look divine! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

  8. As a non-drinker I'd be going with the Black Forest one but my husband loves pears even though I'm not that keen on them. He also has a half drunk bottle of Cointreau on the drinks table. This Christmas he did pears in Amaretto for his trifle base.

    1. Yum! Pears in Amaretto sound lovely!
      As a non-drinker, you could always make the pear compote extra juicy and use the liquid from that! I often have to make non-alcohol same-look desserts for Miss GF and to be honest, the alcohol is just an extra that makes no odds to the enjoyment factor!

  9. These look absolutely awesome. I'm not a big trifle fan but if I was this would be top of my list of things to make!

    1. Thanks Vicki. I think the flavours would be amazing outside of a trifle too! x

  10. Such a cute dessert and it sounds amazing, I don't think I have ever tried pear trifle... definitely something to add to the list for 2017 :) Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Margot. I often think of pear as an underused fruit. It is incredible in so many things and they are local too. We should use more of them!

  11. I have had cointreau soaked ginger cake in a trifle before but not with the pear too. I can imagine that it tastes absolutely delicious.

    1. Oh it does Charlotte! If you loved the cointreau-ginger, you have to try the pear addition! xx

  12. Wow these look stunning! Screw the diet and bring Christmas back! Thanks for linking up to #TreatPetite

    1. Thanks Kat. Too right! Diets in January are over-rated anyway! x

  13. Love these Kate - thanks for entering these into Treat Petite!

  14. What a gorgeous sounding trifle! I never thought of using ginger cake as a base, but it's a genius idea! Thanks for linking up with the No Waste Food Challenge - it's always great to have you on board! :)

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. It was such a good trifle. I was very disappointed when they had all been eaten!
      Love the No Waste food Challenge. It's definitely one of my favourites! x


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