The Smells of Pears, Hazelnuts, Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean

It was some time last week. Early morning. I woke up and headed outside to water my plants when suddenly, I realized… autumn had arrived. It was sunny, yet cool and brisk, just like those perfect Florida winter days. I opened all the windows for the first time in weeks. The best feeling in the world.

It took me a few days to really come down from the high of BlogHer Food and I have really been lying low.

San Francisco was wonderful. I really didn’t have much of a chance to socialize as I had M. with me and late night parties were just not going on the agenda for us this time. But it was great to spend time with dear friends (old and new), eat some fantastic chilaquiles and sing lots of monkey songs with this little girl.

And so this week, with the cool breeze coming in, I wanted to fill the house with smells of autumn. Sweet, toasty and nutty smells of brown butter, toasted hazelnuts, cinnamon sugar coated cakes… All those wonderful smells I’m sure you know too.

First, pears and raspberries with a hazelnut and oat crumble topping, because it’s one of the easiest desserts to make.

And then, pear, hazelnut and brown butter cakes. In fact, I’m just enjoying the last one of the cakes while I type this.

Can you smell them yet?

Oh and one more wonderful act of kindness… A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this blog by prop stylist Paula Walters. We started talking, one thing led to another and the next thing I know, there are some wonderful vintage cooling racks in the mail for me. Awesomeness. Thank you Paula!

Pear, Hazelnut and Brown Butter Cakes

makes a dozen mini bundtcakes

1 cup (125 grams) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) hazelnut flour
2 Tbs (20 grams) tapioca starch
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
10 Tbs (140 grams) unsalted butter, browned
1/3 cup (85 grams) brown sugar
1/3 cup (100 grams) maple syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
2 eggs
2 pears, grated
1 cup (200 grams) superfine sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook it until the milk solids start to turn brown on the bottom of the pan and smells nutty. Strain it and let it cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla bean. Add the cooled brown butter and whisk. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. Fold in the grated pears.

Divide the batter in the mini bundt pan mold. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Let them cool for a couple of minutes in the pan. Remove the cakes from the pan and toss them in the cinnamon sugar.

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17 Responses to “The Smells of Pears, Hazelnuts, Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean”

  1. bo roth says:

    My friend (and acupuncturist) told me she made this cake and that it’s AMAZING. (I was complaining that my first forays into GF baking were a total loss: sandy tasting and awful.)

    Looking for a mini-bundt pan tomorrow but can you tell me if you have the recipe for “pears and raspberries with a hazelnut and oat crumble topping” on the blog? I can’t find it! And crisps are my favorite, or a second favorite to a great pear/hazelnut cake!

  2. Aran, where have you been all my life?? I’m gluten inolerant, and I’ve never tasted gluten free baking like this. Wow! I’ve made two batches of these beauties. A hush fell over the dinner table yesterday when my family ate them with some whip cream for desert…they are so good! Many thanks! I’ll be making these forever.

    They rise a bit too much. Will reducing the baking powder produce a flatter top? How much should I reduce it by?

    I also want to say that I’ve been cruising through many blogs recently, and your blog is by far the best.

  3. Scatteredflurries- it’s also one of my favorites so I’m glad you enjoy it as well. You can use 1 tsp of Bp if you’d prefer. My rose but not that much so not sure what the issue is. What kind of baking powder dis you use? Thanks!

  4. stephanie says:

    Hi! I stumbled upon this recipe from pinterest and I’m sold! Gonna make this as soon as I can get my hands on the ingredients! I’m thinking of adding a nutella filling or swirl it with nutella, so it looks like a mini marbled bundt cake. Any advise on how to achieve these varieties?

  5. Whitney B says:

    Gorgeous! Pears and hazelnuts are two of my favorites, and I can’t wait to try this!

    Do you have any advice on how to make this with all purpose or cake flour? Would you just sub out the tapioca and brown rice flour? What about the xanthan gum?

    Also… Where’d you go for chilaquiles? Have any recs for NYC?

  6. akampi says:

    This recipe looks amazinggg!!! But xanthan gum isnt sold around me, any substitution that wont give different results? And can I make my own hazelnut flour? Again, not sold around here :(

  7. Antonella says:

    My mouth waters just imagining these with espresso. However, I don’t have a mini bundt pan. Do you think they would cook correctly in a muffin pan? Thank you!

  8. Marie says:

    You can almost feel the taste of these little cakes just by looking at them… Delicious.
    Can I ask where you got the mini bundts pan – if you remember? De Buyer? Is bundt pan the same as kuglof?

  9. Dearest Aran,

    Just about to try this recipe using a 6 cups bundt pan from Nordic Ware, do you think I need to change the amounts on the original recipe?

    Much appreciated!

  10. Hola, Aran,

    Quick note to let you know I ended up doing the glazed apple & chestnut bundt cakes from your book, instead of the ones above. Both recipes call for similar amounts of flours, fruit, butter. As my bunt pan was for 6 cups I figured it might still work, and it did. In fact, this pan seems to be the exact equivalent to using a mould for a dozen mini bunt cakes.

    So I ended up with a truly delicious bundt cake, very buttery and comforting. Perhaps more appropriate for the autumn, but equally comforting on a late spring rainy day as it was today.

    Not such a quick note after all…

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