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Pear, pinenut and vanilla cakes with creme anglaise

  • Makes 12
Pear, pinenut and vanilla cakes with creme anglaise

To round off brunch, treat friends to a hot frothy coffee and a warm, tender mini pear cake partnered with smooth vanilla custard.


  • 150 grams butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence (see cook's tips)
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 large, ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced


  • 50 grams butter
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup finely chopped pinenuts or walnuts

Creme anglaise (vanilla custard)

  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 1 cup whole milk or cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup caster sugar


  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until light. Beat in the eggs and vanilla essence.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and pears (this way you'll get a light mixture).
  3. To make the topping, rub the butter into the flour and sugar, then mix in the nuts.
  4. Spoon equal amounts of the creamed mixture into 12 well-greased and paper-lined muffin tins. Scatter over the topping.
  5. Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes. Cool before removing from the tin. Serve warm with creme anglaise.

Creme anglaise

  1. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, place them in a saucepan with the milk or cream and heat until boiling point.
  2. Cream together the egg yolks and sugar and then stir in the hot milk. Return to the heat, preferably in a double boiler, and cook, stirring over a low heat until the custard has thickened.

Cooks Tips

- For a delicious vanilla flavour, you need good-quality vanilla. - For a quick Creme Anglaise, mix 1 cup whole milk with 1 cup bought custard and flavour with either vanilla essence or seeds scraped from a vanilla pod. - Once you have finished with the vanilla pod, put it in your sugar canister to create vanilla sugar.

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