Pear and Chestnut Cake for Grown-Ups

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםYou loved the winter so much.

When I shared that the cold was settling in Paris, you were eager for it too. You loved the chill, the colors, the comforting food, and especially chestnuts.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםIn our childhood, chestnuts weren’t a thing. Israel in the 80s — who knew about these delicate and fragrant creations? But you enthusiastically told me about the Hungarian pastry Gesztenyepüré (chestnuts purée) you had as a child.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםWhen you visited me for the first time in Paris, you were thrilled to try the Mont Blanc dessert, excessively sweet, crowned with towers of chestnut cream. I still remember your big smile.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםDuring the Shiva, Lior and Guy brought a handmade cake. It looked beautiful and refined, and when we tasted it, I felt it was baked especially for you. Immediately, I recognized the ingredients — chestnuts, pears, and rum, a perfect combination so associated with our friend Pierre Hermé and so fitting for you, the chestnut lover.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםIn 2016, Hermé created an entire dessert collection called “HOMMAGE,” based on the combination of chestnut and pear. The collection was created by Hermé as a tribute to the pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre, who was his mentor.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםLenôtre was one of the significant pastry chefs in the history of French pastry. He founded the “Lenôtre” school and contributed to many classical pastries still produced today in numerous sweet boutiques in France and worldwide. Hermé, who worked with Lenôtre as a young man, remembered the taste of the chestnut-pear ice cream the latter created and decided to try to recreate it.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםWe were very moved by Lior and Guy’s gesture and already that evening I asked them for the recipe. I immediately received it with the explanation that it was a Claire Saffitz recipe and when we arrived in Paris Gali went to the Grenelle market, bought me beautiful pears and I made her the cake and I knew you were with me.

עוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםעוגת ערמונים ואגסיםNote: The recipe is slightly adjusted to my taste.

Pear and Chestnut Cake
24-25cm springform pan

Ingredients
3 firm pears (500g)
300g whole roasted chestnuts
10g vanilla extract 
5g Fleur-de-sel
150g light brown sugar or Muscovado sugar
145g butter, softened

100g eggs (around 2 M eggs)
175g flour, sifted
10g baking powder 
120g crème fraîche
30g brandy or rum
25g white sugar

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, grease a pan with butter, and sprinkle sugar on the bottom and sides, removing any excess.
2. Pears: Cut the pears and remove the cores. Dice one pear into small cubes, placing them in a bowl on the side; this pear will go into the cake batter. Thinly slice the remaining two pears, and set them aside.
3. In a mixer bowl, whip chestnuts, vanilla, Fleur-de-sel and 150g of light brown/muscovado sugar. Begin at a slow speed until the chestnuts break into coarse chunks, then increase to medium speed until a crumbly texture with small chestnuts pieces is formed.
4. Add the soft butter to the mixer and continue to beat at medium-high speed until a light and airy mixture is obtained.
5. Gradually add eggs until a bright and smooth mixture is achieved.
6. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour and baking powder.
7. Add the dry ingredients and the crème fraîche alternately to the mixer bowl, mixing as little as possible, just until the flour is incorporated into the mixture.
8. Add the brandy and mix gently.
9. Using a spatula, fold the diced pear into the mixture. Fold gently to avoid crushing the pear.
10. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the surface.
11. Arrange the two sliced pears on top of the cake in the desired pattern and sprinkle 25 grams of sugar over them.
12. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the edges and the surface of the cake turn golden brown. Cool to room temperature in the pan.
13. Once the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and serve.

Bon-Appétit
Sharon

Comments

  • 18 January 2024
    Chris

    For a long time I have been looking for an excellent recipe for a cake with chestnuts, 🌰 a cake that is suitable for our cold winter and here I came across the recipe you posted that looks really wonderful and after a lot of experience baking many of your recipes with great success,
    I am sure that this recipe will also be a star for us this cold and snowy weekend that is coming☃️☃️☃️
    Thanks so much for all your delicious recipes🙏
    Chris

    reply
      • 18 January 2024
        Kate Rousos

        Good recipes well done

        reply

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