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Chocolate Trifle, Spiced Pears & Caramel Slice

With Sean Armstrong

Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4


Spiced Pears

4 small pears
1/2 lemon
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
350g sugar

Caramel sauce

250g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
200ml cream


4 thick slices from store-bought chocolate loaf (ours came from Loaf)
Greek Yoghurt, to top


Spiced Pears Method

Peel the pears and place in water with the lemon to prevent browning until ready to poach.  Place remaining ingredients in a small pot.  Add pears and cover with fresh water.

Cut a circle of baking paper, the size of the pot, then place over the pears and poach on low heat for 1 3/4 hours or until soft.

Leave to cool in the poaching liquor until ready to use.

Caramel Sauce Method

Put sugar in a saucepan on medium heat.  As sugar caramelises, gently shake it around the pan to prevent burning.  Remove from heat when it is a nice light golden caramel.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon and star anise. Cool caramel slightly, then add cream and return to the heat.

Bring to the boil, ensuring the sauce is well mixed.

Remove from the stove and put through a sieve to remove the spices.

Trifle Method

Make spiced poached pears and caramel sauce as above.  (Keep sauce warm and have pears slightly warm)

Cut each Chocolate Loaf slice into 8 cubes, and layer into 4 dessert glasses.   Drizzle each trifle with 3 Tbsp pear-poaching liquid.

Quarter and core pears and add to trifles.  Top with a dollop of unsweetened Greek yoghurt and caramel sauce.

(28 november 2011)