Monday, September 23, 2013

Brandied Pear Cake with White Chocolate

 Our normal routine on Sundays is to meet up with my husband’s sister and her husband for brunch. They’ve recently moved to the Seattle area and we love having them live so close to us! We typically alternate choosing restaurants to visit, and one weekend we ventured over to Ballard, a fun neighborhood in northwest Seattle. They are visiting the different neighborhoods as a way to learn about the city and had found this restaurant during their visit.

The restaurant we went to was great, but it was also the day of the Ballard Farmer’s Market and we stepped outside the restaurant and we were in the busy market. I like Farmer’s Markets, but I need to plan when I go. If I just buy random produce, I don’t always use it. I had spied this recipe in my newest cookbook, The Boozy Baker. Yes, it’s a cookbook of baking using alcohol and it’s wonderful! I though this brandied pear cake would be great so I picked up the pears I needed and planned to make this cake.

I let the pears soften a bit as they were a little unripe when I purchased them. They were nice and ripe when I made the cake and they were fantastic. You soak them in brandy for a bit, which gives them great flavor. The cake has a few steps, browning the butter, etc. but not too bad. This cake looks deceptively simple, but it’s just wonderful. The pears were just perfect, and the brandy flavor is there but isn’t too powerful. I wasn’t sure about the white chocolate chips, but they add a nice bit of sweetness. If you have pears that you want to use, this is the perfect cake for you.

Brandied Pear Cake with White Chocolate
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup brandy
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 ripe pears, peeled and cut in ½” chunks

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup white chocolate chips

Make the brandied pears: in a medium bowl combine the sugar, brandy, lemon juice and pears. Stir to coat the pears in the brandy and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Strain the pears, reserving 1 tablespoon of the brandy mixture for the cake batter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” springform pan. (I used a 9-1/2” pan)

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Continue cooking, 8-10 minutes, until the butter is browned and has a nutty fragrance. Be careful not to burn the butter.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs for 5 minutes on high, until thick and light yellow in color. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved 1 tablespoon of the brandy mixture.

With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture alternatively with the butter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the brandied pears and white chocolate chips.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is lightly browned. Cool in the pan and remove to a serving plate when completely cooled.

Recipe from The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

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