Roasted Pear and Caramel Trifle

Roasted Pears
10 large ripe but firm Bosc pears
2 tbsp butter melted

Custard
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Litre 18% cream divided
4 egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Assembly
7 oz ladyfingers
2 tbsp rum
1 cup whipping cream
1 ripe red pear

1. To roast pears, preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Coat a baking sheet with sides with nonstick spray. Peel, core and slice pears into �-inch (1-cm) slices. Lay in a single layer on sheet; drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, turning and rearranging slices every 15 minutes as needed, until slices are richly golden. Cool on sheet.

3. Meanwhile, stir sugar with flour. Whisk 1 cup (250 mL) cold cream with egg yolks; then mix in sugar mixture. Heat remaining cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot, but not yet simmering. Slowly whisk half of hot cream into cold cream mixture; continuing to whisk, pour mixture back into saucepan containing remaining hot cream. Stirring almost constantly with a wooden spoon, continue cooking for 10 minutes or until mixture becomes glossy and thickens. Do not boil. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Press a buttered piece of waxed paper or piece of plastic wrap directly onto custard surface; cool. Custard sets even more as it cools.

4. To make caramel sauce, measure water into a medium heavy-bottom sauce pan. Add sugar and butter; do not stir! Measure out whipping cream, set near the stove along with vanilla. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil without stirring. Let bubble briskly for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sugar begins to change colour. Swirl pan gently on the unit until the colour becomes deeply golden. Avert your face (as hot steam rapidly rises) and near the side of the pan, pour in whipping cream. Stir until smooth. Slide pan off heat; stir in vanilla. Cool until lukewarm before using or pour into a container; sauce thickens as it cools. (Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for a week or more.)

5. To assemble trifle, choose a large deep bowl, preferably glass. Line bottom with half of the ladyfingers; drizzle with 1 tbsp (15 mL) rum. Evenly top with half of roasted pears and 2 tbsp (25 mL) caramel sauce. Pour over half of custard. Repeat. If making a day or 2 ahead, cover and refrigerate. Refrigerate remaining caramel sauce.

6. To serve, whip cream until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted; spread over top of trifle. Core unpeeled red pear and very thinly slice. Decoratively arrange on top of trifle. Drizzle with some of the reserved caramel sauce.

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