Amaretto Pear Trifle

This delicious Amaretto Pear Trifle is perfect for winter and large enough to feed your holiday crowd and have leftovers! It uses Italian Panettone Fruit Cake and amaretti cookies in your base.

If you can whip cream you can make this!

It includes roasted pears which are in season at holiday time and I use whole frozen sweet cherries. I use a very basic panattone fruit cake. It takes about half of a two pound panattone. The pastry cream, whipped cream, amaretto and brandy add up to a wonderful rich trifle.

You will need a big bowl to hold all this.  Mine is about 10″ at the top and about 5″ deep.

And – here is the best part of all…. it tastes better after it has had at least a day in the fridge and two is even better.  Another make ahead win!

Be sure to use Cream of Tartar in your whipped cream topping so it doesn’t deflate before you serve it. Cream of tartar is an acidic by product from the winemaking process. Officially it is  potassium bitartrate, aka potassium hydrogen tartrate or tartaric acid but commercially it is sold as Cream of Tartar in the baking section.  It is used to stabilize egg whites for meringue and whipped cream during the beating process.  You will get more volume and the form will hold true.  (Cream of tartar and baking soda are the 2 ingredients that make up baking powder.)

If you don’t use the cream of tartar then I would put the final whipped cream layer on top only the day of serving.


Enjoy!  You may just have found a new holiday tradition!


Amaretto Pear Trifle

A delicious trifle with pears, amaretto, cherries and whipped cream. The base uses Panatonne and Amaretti biscuits for real Italian flare!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 d 1 hr 40 mins
Servings: 20 servings


Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups 35% whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsps amaretto liqueur
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • 8 firm pears
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup whole, pitted cherries (Frozen or jarred are fine)
  • 8 cups basic panattone fruit cake crumbled into 2" chunks. Divided 4 cups, 2 cups and 2 cups.
  • 4 oz amaretti cookies coarsely crumbled
  • 12 Tbsps apricot jam
  • 4 Tbsps brandy
  • 4 Tbsps amaretto

Whipped Topping Layer

  • 2 cups 35% whipping cream chilled
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds toasted
  • 8 whole cherries for garnish


Roasted Pears

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel and quarter pears, removing the core. Stir the pears in a bowl with the 1/3 cup sugar and 2 Tbsps lemon juice.
  • Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread pears out to a single layer. Drizzle any remaining sugar/lemon mix over the pears. Roast about 40 minutes, stirring part way through. Pears should be tender and golden brown.
  • When cool enough to handle dice into 1/2" pieces. Cover and chill.

Pastry Cream

  • Bring cream and milk to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl whisk sugar, egg yolks, flour, amaretto, vanilla and salt together until smooth.
  • Whisk a 1/4 cup or so of hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk vigorously so the hot cream doesn't cook the egg yolk. Then vigorously whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture. Return to the stove and continue whisking over medium heat until pastry cream comes to a boil, thickens and is smooth. This may take about 5 minutes. Pour pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, directly on the surface of the pastry cream, so there is no air in contact with the pastry cream. This is to avoid a skin forming on the custard. Allow it to cool in the fridge.


  • Place about 4 cups of panattone chunks in the bottom of a large trifle bowl.
  • Sprinkle half of the crushed amaretti cookies over the panattone.
  • Dab 6 Tbsps of apricot jam evenly around the bowl.
  • Next make a layer using 1/2 the roasted pears and 1/2 the cherries and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle 2 Tbsps brandy and 2 Tbsps amaretto over the fruit layer.
  • Spread 1/3 of the pastry cream over the fruit layer.
  • Spread 2 cups of the remaining panattone and all the remaining amaretti cookie crumbles.
  • Spread remaining pears and cherries.
  • Sprinkle remaining brandy and amaretto evenly over fruit. Dab remaining 6 Tbsps of apricot jam around the surface.
  • Spread 1/3 of pastry cream over the fruit.
  • Layer the last 2 cups of panattone. Spread the remaining third of the pastry cream evenly over the panattone.
  • Refrigerate.

Whipped Cream Topping

  • Beat cream and sugar in a bowl. When cream starts to thicken add the cream of tartar and vanilla. Whip until you get stiff peaks that hold their shape.
  • Spoon or pipe whipped cream over the top of the trifle.
  • Decorate with whole cherries and toasted almonds.
  • Refrigerate overnight. You can refrigerate 2 days prior to serving if you used cream of tartar in your whipped cream. If not refrigerate the base and finish whipped topping layer the day you serve it.


Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 374IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg
Amaretto Pear TrifleAmaretto Pear Trifle

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