Still anxiously waiting for fall here in Texas. I keep seeing all of this great fall produce hit the grocery store and the contrasting summer produce at the farmer’s market is pulling me every which way. I just want fall to be here already and I still believe that “if you bake it, it will come.” It has too.
My husband and daughter went to his family’s ranch this past weekend for a dove hunt (while I had to stay here and work) and brought back enough food to last us weeks. As a little reward (and because I was seduced at Whole Foods by these incredibly ripe pears) I decided to make them a pear cake. Not just any pear cake mind you, but a moist, sweet, and dense cake with caramelized pears topped with silky brandy creme anglaise, a sweet custard sauce.
Needless to say it was a hit because there was not even a slice left! This is autumn in every single sumptuous bite.
Pear Cake with Brandy Creme Anglaise
- 4 ripe pears
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground or fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 stick butter, melted
brandy crème anglaise
adapted from Food&Wine Basic Creme Anglaise Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons brandy
make ahead: The Brandy Creme Anglaise can be made a day before serving and stored in the refrigerator.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a springform pan by lining the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit and graciously grease the pan with butter or baking oil spray. Set aside until needed
2. Slice the pears into small bite-sized cubes, discard the cores.
3. In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add pears, brown sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir to combine and simmer until the sugar is melted and the pears have softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat aside until needed.
4. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ginger, and nutmeg.
5. With a hand-held electric mixer and a bowl, or in a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Once combined add the dry ingredients in two stages and beat until just incorporated. Do not over mix. With a spatula, fold the pear mixture into the batter. Next, evenly pour the batter into the springform pan. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully remove the springform pan and set the cake on a cooling rack to cool.
6. To make the Brandy Creme Anglaise: Set a strainer over a bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with cold water. Set aside until needed.
7. In a bowl, whisk to combine egg yolks and sugar. Set aside until needed.
8. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a light simmer over medium-low heat. This will take about 5 minutes. Once the milk begins to simmer, remove from heat and very slowly pour the milk into the egg and sugar while whisking. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken. Once it just starts to become thick, quickly remove from heat and strain into the reserved bowl. Add brandy and stir. *note: You can overcook creme anglaise. Once over cooked it will curdle and will no longer be good. If this is your first time making this, be prepared for it and to possibly make another batch. No worries friends, if you do overcook this sauce you will never forget the moment you should have taken it off the heat. From then on it’s a breeze and you will be making this simple and delectable sauce constantly. I speak from experience.
9. Serve the pear cake warm with a heavy drizzle of the brandy creme anglaise.