Great trifles dont need to be difficult. This recipe is little more than melting the white chocolate, mixing it with mascarpone, letting it cool, then layering it with the sponge and pears. Delicious.
1 410g canned pears in syrup, drained
7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup pear brandy
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3 3-ounce packages soft sponge fingers
Combine white chocolate, pear brandy, and 1/4 cup water in a metal bowl set over simmering water. Stir until smooth (mixture will be very liquidy). Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean. Transfer white chocolate mixture to large bowl; gradually add mascarpone, whisking until mixture is smooth. Cool mascarpone mixture until barely lukewarm.
Beat 1 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture in 4 additions. Cover and chill white chocolate mousse until set, about 3 hours. Mousse can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Cut pear halves lengthwise into slices. Arrange sponge fingers in single layer in bottom of trifle dish. Spread 1/3 of white chocolate mousse over sponge, making layer slightly thicker around outer edges of dish to allow mousse to be more visible. Top this layer with pear slices. Repeat layering of sponge, mousse, and pears 2 more times. Can be made 1 day ahead.
White chocolate curls can be made by putting a block of white chocolate in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time until soft enough to peel into unbroken curls using a vegetable peeler. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.