Salted Caramel & Ginger Pear Trifle

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The holiday season is upon us and it’s time for a show stopping yet super low maintenance dessert for a crowd (safely done of course!). It can be made ahead of time, its layers are always adaptable, and it’s so fun to assemble. A trifle is a decorative English dish that conventionally incorporates fruit, jam, cake, custard and cream. We have of course made it completely of functional foods, while maintaining the perfect blend of textures and flavors. 

You can really get creative with what you choose to use in this recipe. In this version we make a ginger cake, the custard and caramel from scratch-which sounds daunting- but they come together quickly and can be made separately over a few days if you are short on time. These 3 elements are also divine separately. You can also simplify the recipe by skipping the caramel, using a simple coconut whipped cream instead of custard, or using a cake (or cookie) recipe or store bought substitute that you are familiar with already. As always, make it your own!

WILDFIT Season: Fall

Challenge Weeks: 1, 13

Prep Time: 30 mins + 3 hours chilling time (total)

Cook Time: 40 mins (total)

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

Cake:

  • ¼  cup coconut oil, melted 
  • ¼  cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼  cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature (very important)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½  cup unsweetened dairy free milk of choice
  • ½  cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼  teaspoon salt

Custard:

  • 13.5 oz unsweetened coconut milk 
  • 4 Tbsp water 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 3 Tbsp arrowroot starch*
  • ½   tsp ground cardamom (or more to taste)

*Cannot be substituted with tapioca as it loses its thickening powers when combined with acidic foods (like eggs)

Caramel:

  • 1 can Full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 bosc pears (you can substitute apples easily or another slightly firm, crisp fruit)

Preparation:

Custard:

Prep Time: 6 mins

Cook time: 6 mins

The first step is to create the custard, as it will need to cool for a few hours before using it. A custard is a sweet egg and milk mixture similar to a pudding. Once you know how to make this confection, you can also easily convert it into pots de creme or creme brulee!  For this dish, we will be adding subtle aromatics of cardamom. However you can, on a separate occasion, use vanilla, chocolate or lemon to flavor the custard as you like. 

Custard comes together easily, but it requires tempering eggs so you need to focus and have patience for the 12 minutes it takes to make. It is important that the eggs are room temperature so that the eggs will cook enough when the milk is added. Begin by separating the egg yolks from the whites. You’ll need a small and medium heatproof bowl and clean hands. Crack an egg; catch the yolk in your hand, and allow the white to run through your fingers into a small bowl. This way, if you make a mistake, you won’t contaminate the rest of the whites or yolks. Add the yolks to the medium bowl with coconut sugar and cream together. Also whisk together your water and arrowroot starch and set it aside for later. 

In a medium saucepan, gently heat your coconut milk with the added cardamom in a saucepan until simmering, whisking it constantly to prevent burning on the bottom.  If you don’t have a proper whisk a fork will do just fine! Pour 1/3 of your hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.Slowly pour in the rest of your hot milk and whisk to combine. This needs to be done slowly, or you will get milky scrambled eggs instead of custard. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-high heat, add arrowroot and water mixture, and whisk it constantly until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Don’t worry, it will continue to thicken as it cools! Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Finally pour your custard into a heat-proof container and place in the fridge to cool. 

Cake:

Prep Time: 7 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

This cake is light, spongy, and rich tasting fragrant. The ingredient list is long, but all ingredients are likely already a part of your WILDFIT pantry, and most are spices. To make this cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking or use a silicone form. As with any standard cake, in two separate bowls mix the wet and dry ingredients, then mix dry into wet and stir a few times with a spatula to create a smooth batter. Finally pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to completely cool before removing it from the pan. If it does break that’s okay, it’s the plan anyway! Once cool, slice it into bite sized cubes.

Caramel:

Prep Time: 2 mins

Cook time: 15 min

This is the caramel we used this past summer to help create those yummy Banana Split Skewers.  It tastes so buttery you would never suspect it is dairy free! To make the caramel sauce, place all caramel ingredients except the tapioca and water into a medium saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir frequently with a whisk as the caramel comes to a boil to avoid the sugar burning on the bottom. Once the sauce reaches a boil and starts to bubble, reduce the heat to keep it at a simmer. At this point, continue to stir it every few minutes for about 15 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat. 

Pears:

Prep TIme: 5 mins

Cook Time: 0 mins

Wash and dry pears. Cut vertically into thin silhouettes. If you are using a large, flat sided bowl, keep the pieces as they are until you have enough to press to the outside of the bowl for decoration, then slice the remaining smaller pieces into thin wedges. If you are making single serving dishes, you can also use small cookie cutters to cut out shapes for more delicate decorations, make rectangles, or keep the silhouettes. Trifles usually have cooked fruits, however we are using raw to add a bit of texture and maintain the nutritional integrity of the fruit. 

Assembly:

Now that your recipes are ready, it’s time for the fun part. Trifles look their best in the classic trifle bowl with straight, deep sides mean you can really pack in the filling and made of glass so you can see all the layers. In a pinch you can also use a glass mixing bowl. Personally I prefer mini versions in stemmed dessert bowls, wine glasses or mason jars as it gives each person the opportunity to savour their own beautiful dish, rather than receiving a bowl of chaos. No matter what you use, it is going to be delicious. 


Start by spreading a layer of custard in the bottom of the dish. Use this to anchor your fruit slices, pressing each one up to the side of the glass with your fingers. Next, add a layer of cake cubes on top of the sauce, making sure the cake is equally distributed. Press the pieces to the edge of the glass to distinguish the layers. Add a layer of caramel and another layer of custard, plopping it gently onto the cake and being careful around the fruit slices pressed to the glass. Finally top with remaining fruit pieces, then drizzle with more caramel sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or desiccated coconut if desired. Chill for at least an hour but no more than two so the flavours blend but it doesn’t turn to mush. Enjoy!

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