Blackberry Pear Trifles (SCD & GFCF)

In the midst of this week’s daily posts, I bring one new recipe before 2010’s close. Individual trifles, which is also my contribution to this month’s Sugar High Friday, hosted by Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice (deadline is tomorrow at midnight EST). This is my first foray into the event and next month will be even grander. I’ve been making versions of these trifles for a long time, using fruit that’s available – the family favourite being strawberries and or raspberries – but this is the first time I’m calling them trifles. Before it was just that dessert with custard and the meringue nut torte.

The custard is made with coconut milk, honey, and egg yolks and that’s rounded off with coconut oil (or another neutral-tasting oil) at the end and vanilla extract; I’ve posted it before. It’s incredibly flexible: at its simplest, we serve it with fruit – so this trifle being a variation thereof. I’ve also used this custard in baking and other desserts, using it as a substitute for yogurt (see: strawberry mousse) with excellent results.

When you make the meringue nut torte, it’s also a great way to use up the leftover egg whites from making the custard. You could also use angel food cake.

For the trifles, I divide the batter among cupcake liners – making little shortcakes, per se. Because of the individual nature of these trifles, another option is to make the components and let people put it together as they like. Ripe, soft pears compliments and offsets the custard’s richness – in fact, it’s almost the only way now I like to eat raw pears.

Blackberry Pear Trifles

Serves 4 to 6


1 recipe dairy-free custard

1 1/2 soft ripe pears, cored

Blackberry sauce

6 ounces fresh or frozen blackberries, plus extra for assembly
Honey, to taste

Meringue Nut Torte or Cupcakes
Adapted from Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall

3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup honey
4 large egg whites
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the sauce: Cook the blackberries in a small pot over medium heat with a small amount of water just to cover the bottom to prevent scorching. Partially crush the berries as they cook, cooking until it’s reached the desired consistency based on your preference. If you like a slightly runnier sauce, add some more water, a little at a time. Sweeten with honey, adding a little at a time until it suits your taste.

To make the meringue nut torte or cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Mix the almond flour and honey together until large balls form. Separately, beat the egg whites with the salt until medium stiff peaks form. Fold into the almond flour and honey dough until all the ingredients are incorporated. Don’t worry if there are still clumps of dough. Add the vanilla extract.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling halfway. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool, until cool to the touch. The cupcakes should peel away easily, more or less, from the wrappers.

Assembly: Place 1 cupcake in the bottom of a glass and place 3 to 4 blackberries on top. Pour a small amount of custard (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) over the berries before putting a small amount of the sauce (about 1 tablespoon) on top. Place another cupcake on top and drizzle some custard over the cupcake. Slice 1/4 pear into the glass, arranging the pear pieces on top the cupcake. Drizzle a little more custard on top the pears and top with a dab of the sauce, spreading around slightly to colour the custard, if you wish. Serve and enjoy!

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