• Brown Butter Upside-Down Pear Cake



    Yeild: 1, 9" Cake

    • Ingredients
    • Brown sugar
      ½ cup , 105 g
    • Brandy, whisky, or water
      2 Tbsp. , 30 g
    • Butter
      5 Tbsp. , 70 g
    • Bosc pears, peeled, cut into ⅛ thick pieces
      ½ lb. or 2-3 ea.
    • Crystalized ginger
      ¼ cup , 50 g


    • Ingredients
    • Butter (plus a little extra for greasing the pan)
      227 g
    • Hazelnuts
      5 oz. , 155 g
    • Confectioner’s sugar
      1 ⅓ cups , 175 g
    • Salt
      1 tsp. , 2 g
    • Candied ginger
      1 tsp , 2 g
    • Flour
      ⅓ cup , 56 g
    • Egg whites
      5 ea. , 175g
    • Cream of tartar
      ½ tsp. , 1 g
    • Sugar
      3 Tbsp. , 30 g


    For the Pears:

    1. Bring the brown sugar, brandy, and butter to a boil in a sauté pan, whisking until smooth.
    2. Add the peeled pear slices and gently stir to completely coat with the sauce.
    3. Grease and flour the cake pan and line with a circle of parchment. Pour into the cake pan and using tongs, arrange the pears concentrically. Sprinkle with candied ginger. Set aside.

    For the Cake:

    1. Brown the butter slowly in a heavy saucepan. When it is a beautiful nutty brown, remove to a small bowl and allow to cool completely.
    2. Heat the oven to 350°F.
    3. Toast the hazelnuts on a sheet pan for 5 minutes or until light golden brown. To remove the brown skins, place in a tea towel, and rub vigorously. It is not necessary to remove every single brown skin, just the majority. Remove the hazelnuts, discard the skins, and allow to cool.
    4. Place the cooled nuts, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are very finely ground. Remove to a bowl and stir in the flour.
    5. In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. With the mixer still on high speed, very slowly “rain” in the sugar continuing to whisk until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Transfer the egg whites to a large bowl.
    6. Fold in half of the nut mixture and the cooled brown butter into the egg whites. Fold in the remaining nut mixture and brown butter.
    7. Pour the batter over the pears. Smooth the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top springs back and when tested with a skewer the skewer comes out clean.
    8. Let sit for 10 minutes--carefully invert the pan onto a platter and peel the parchment off the cake.
    9. Serve with crème fraiche.
     Recipe by Chef Barbara Alexander at The Culinary Institute of America
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