Pear and Pistachio Cake with Belle de Brillet and Vanilla Custard
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 large egg whites
- Pinch fine salt
- 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter, plus solid butter for tins
- Pear liqueur for brushing (recommended: Belle de Brillet)
- 12 Seckel pears
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 8 Forelli or Bartlett pears
- 8 eggs
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 6 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and seeded
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter 8 individual baking tins. Put both types of flour in a mixing bowl and stir in the ground pistachios, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Fold them very carefully into the flour mixture. Quickly fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter among the baking tins and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove cakes from the tins and let cool on a rack, brushing them from time to time with the liqueur.
Halve the Seckel pears lengthwise. Melt 1/2 cup sugar in a large saute pan (large enough to hold all the pear halves). Add the pear halves, cut side down, and cook until caramelized.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Combine eggs and yolks in a mixing bowl. Bring cream, vanilla bean seeds, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a simmer. Add about 1 cup of the simmering cream mixture to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the egg mixture to the simmering cream mixture and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Do not let boil. Transfer the custard to individual serving vessels, such as small ramekins or molds, and arrange in baking dishes. Pour water halfway up the sides of the ramekins and place in the oven. Bake until custard is set. Remove from oven and cool. Spoon cooled custard over finished cakes and serve with both types of pears on the side.
Professional Recipe: This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.
Recipe courtesy Joey Campanaro, New York, NY