Triple-Layered Spiced Pear & Ginger Trifle

From ITV’s Ainsley’s Christmas Good Mood Food.

A festive twist on a classic trifle. Perfect for a Boxing Day treat or as an alternative to Christmas Pudding. Spiced rum is typically flavoured with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon – spices that are a perfect match for pears and ginger. To make things easier I’m using tinned pears, but you can poach some fresh pears in advance if you prefer. I’m using a 20cm/3 litre trifle dish for an extra-large triple-layered trifle for a special treat but do feel free to reduce the quantities if you’d like to make a smaller version.

Found in this book

Ainsley's Good Mood Food

Ebury Books


To make the custard, heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it just begins to boil. In a bowl, lightly whisk together the cream, vanilla paste, egg yolks, sugar, orange zest, ginger syrup and cornflour. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture while whisking. Return the mixture to the pan, grate in nutmeg to taste, and cook over a low-medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until it is very thick (past the thickness of pouring custard). Pour into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool before putting in the fridge to chill.

Splash a little rum over the pear slices and leave to macerate while you prepare the syrup.

Put 4 tbsp of the reserved pear juice, the spiced rum, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil for a minute or two until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and the flavours infuse.

Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk the double cream, icing sugar and rum until soft peaks form. Fold through the stem ginger.

Arrange half the ginger cake on the bottom of a deep glass serving dish and pour over 1-2 tbsp of the pear and rum syrup. Add a layer of pear slices and then spoon over half of the custard. Repeat the layers. Finish with the whipped spiced cream and use a palette knife to spread and texture the surface. Chill until ready to serve. Decorate with pared orange zest, grated nutmeg, toasted almonds and gingerbread men before serving.



  • 850ml full fat milk
  • 90ml double cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp syrup from stem ginger jar
  • zest from ½ large orange
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 nutmeg, for grating
  • 3 x 415g tins of pears in juice, drained (reserving the juice), thickly sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp spiced rum, plus an extra splash
  • 1½ tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 x 225g shop-bought Jamaica ginger cake, sliced
  • 350ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp spiced rum
  • 1-2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
  • To Decorate
  • almond flakes, toasted (optional)
  • pared zest of ½ large orange
  • mini gingerbread men