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Classic English Trifle:Poached Pear and Raspberry Trifle with Almond Pound cake.
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5 from 130 votes

English Christmas Trifle

Christmas Trifle is a classic English dessert with layers of pound cake, crème anglaise, fresh fruit, and whipped cream. This holiday trifle, adapted from Emeril Lagasse, uses raspberries and poached pears, making it as delicious as it is beautiful.
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Christmas Trifle,, English Christmas Trifle, English trifle
Servings: 18 servings
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Cynthia


  • 3 cups creme anglaise (or prepared Bird's custard)
  • 1 prepared pound cake about 12 ounces, crusts trimmed
  • 1/3 cup marsala wine or sherry
  • 1/3 cup amaretto
  • 4 pears poached, and sliced into wedges.
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • fresh raspberries and mint leaves for garnish


  • In a medium bowl, beat 2 cups cream with the confectioner's sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl toss the berries with 2 tablespoons Marsala, stirring to bruise the berries slightly.
  • To assemble the trifle cut the cake into 1/2-inch thick slices to fit tightly into the bottom of a trifle bowl (or a 1 1/2-quart decorative glass bowl).
  • Drizzle or sprinkle the cake layer with Marsala and Amaretto.
  • Layer 1/3 of the pears and raspberries over the top of the cake, followed by 1/3 of the creme anglaise or custard.
  • Repeat the process, creating a total of three layers with the remaining ingredients.
  • Spread whipped cream on top, then pipe rosettes of whipped cream.
  • Garnish with raspberries and slivered almonds.


  • Pears can be poached a day ahead of time.
  • Bird's Custard powder can be used instead of homemade custard.
  • prepared pound cake can be substituted for homemade. 
  • Nutritional values are hard to calculate. I've based it on the recipe card's nutritional data base for a purchased pound cake and prepared custard.
  • Servings can range from 16 to 24. Nutritional value is based on 18.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 441IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg