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Recipe: Pear and Hazelnut Cake

I am a big fan of hazelnuts and in my personal opinion, the hazelnut has been under-featured. Yes, it is often mentioned in a chocolate-hazelnut pairing, but really, on its own, there's hardly anything that focuses on the nut. So, with that, I knew I wanted to do a cake that uses mainly the hazelnut and came up with the idea of combining pear with it. The result? A fragrant and crumbly cake with roasty and caramely notes, textures of crunchy nuts and soft pears, quite delicious on its own, or heightened when warm and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

How do you want to eat it?

However you want to really.
see chunks of nuts and pear?
Ingredients:
3 medium ripe pears (firm ones like Conference, Barlette), skinned and cored
1.25 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
0.75 cups brown sugar
0.5 cups (125 gram) butter, unsalted
2 eggs
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts


Method:

Quarter the pears and chop up 2 of them into coarse dices.  Safe the 4 quarters and carefully slide them vertically to create a nice fan shape.  These 4 go to the bottom of the pan which serves as good decoration.

Grease a 9" cake pan and line with parchment paper.  Carefully place the 4 quarters of pear into quadrants on the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Sift flour, baking powder and soda together.  Set aside.

Cream sugar and butter together until light in color.
Add egg, 1 at a time, whisk well to mix. Add salt and vanilla extract and give it a quick mix in.

Add in flour mixture and mix well.  Add in chopped pears and hazelnuts.
Give it one last good mix and then pour into the prepared pan.

Place pan into oven on the bottom rack and turn down the temperature to about 170 C.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.  In between, if the top of the cake is browning too fast, use a piece of foil big enough to cover the entire top to prevent burning.

When cake is done, let cool in pan before running a knife through the sides and then un-moulding it upside down.

To serve, you can do as I did - melt some dark dark chocolate with cream and soup generously onto the plate and add some ice cream.  Or, you could also whip up some chantilly cream to keep it simple.

all plated!

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