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Cactus Pear Trifle

Homegrown Tastes South Africa S2 Episode 8: Cactus Pear Trifle

Serves 4

Cactus Pear Trifle


For the custard:

  • 900ml whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp cornflour
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste

For the cream:

  • 250ml Whipping cream
  • 5 ml Vanilla paste
  • 3 Tbsp icing sugar

For Cactus Pear Jelly:

  • 4 cups cranberry
  • 2 cup cactus pears, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp Gelatine powder

Serve with:

  • Madeira cake or swizz roll
  • Assortment of cactus pears for serving - caramelise them in a pan with butter and alcohol like you do with bananas.
  • Chocolate for grating/ shaving on top


  1. For the custard, put the milk into a pot and warm gently. In a large bowl whisk the yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla. Gradually pour the warm milk into the ingredients in the bowl and whisk consistently. Pour the mixture back into the pot and simmer on a low temperature until the custard thickens. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  2. For the cream, whip the cream, sugar & vanilla until soft peaks. Set aside.
  3. For the Cactus Pear Jelly, place half the juice & cactus pears into a pot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatine then pour in the remaining juice. Pour into the trifle bowl and set for 3-4 hours.
  4. To arrange the trifle, add layer of custard on top of the jelly then add a layer of cake followed by another layer of custard and finish off with whipped cream. Garnish the trifle with the caramelised cactus pears and chocolate shavings.


  • A trifle is a cold dessert made with cake, fruit, custard, cream and jelly.
  • 3 ingredient jelly that is easy to make using fruit; juice and gelatine.
  • When making custard, the process of slowly adding the warm milk to the eggs is called tempering. This is a method that combines two ingredients of different temperatures.
  • Cactus pears can have juicy red, purple or green fruits. The pulp can be scooped out and seeds strained to make jelly like we are doing here.
  • Cactus pears should have super food status because they are packed with Vitamin C, calcium, antioxidants and dietary fibre.
  • The fruits have a melon like aroma when ripe. They are sweet.
  • Look for firm cactus pears that feel heavy and have no bruises.
  • To peel a cactus pear, cut off the ends then, cut through the skin just to the flesh. Work your finger under the skin and peel it off. The flesh is filled with seeds that are completely edible similarly to a pomegranate.
  • Raw cactus pear is tastiest when it's cold.