My neighbor has given me a wonderful pound cake. It's sizable, and if I were to sit and eat it straight, I'd be eating it for days. So I have used part of it to make a trifle using a recipe from Bon Appétit. Granted, now I am eating trifle every day, but I don't mind.
Pear and Caramel Trifle
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2-inch strip lemon peel
4 firm but ripe pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, cored
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup warm whipping cream
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 1/4-inch-thick slices from purchased 12-ounce pound cake (or a beautiful home-made one instead)
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into large saucepan; add bean. I have a small jar of vanilla powder from a shop in Dejon, France, so I used a bit of that instead of the bean. Add 6 cups water, sugar and lemon peel. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to simmer. Add pears; simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Cool pears in syrup.
Stir 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until sugar turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup warm cream (mixture will bubble up). Return to very low heat; stir until smooth. Chill sauce uncovered until cold, about 1 hour.
Beat chilled cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold 1/2 cup cold caramel sauce into cream; cover and chill remaining sauce.
Drain pears and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place enough cake slices in a trifle dish to cover the bottom. Top each with half of the pair, about half of the reserved caramel sauce and one third of the caramel cream. Repeat layering with cake, pears, caramel sauce and caramel cream. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Drizzle remaining caramel sauce over trifle. I confess I didn't have enough "remaining caramel" on account of licking the bowl, so I sprinkled the top with chocolate curls instead.