Caramel and Pear Cheesecake Trifle

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caramel-cheesecake

Serves 10-12
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large slightly underripe Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and diced
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce (or salty caramel sauce)
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups cold heavy cream
8 ounces crunchy cookies (like gingersnaps or sandwich cookies), plus crushed cookies for garnish

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the diced pears. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender, 5 minutes. Scrape the pears onto a plate and refrigerate until cool.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Microwave at high power for 5 seconds, just until the gelatin is melted. Transfer the gelatin mixture to a bowl and add the cream cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup of caramel sauce. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

In another bowl, whip 1-1/2 cups of the cream until firm peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon one-fourth of the mousse into a medium trifle bowl. Top with one-fourth of the cookies and one-fourth of the pears. Repeat the layering, ending with a layer of pears. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream until soft peaks form. Dollop the cream over the trifle and garnish with crushed gingersnaps.

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