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Pear & Pistachio Cake – Recipe from Foxfield Inn

At this time of year I like to make food gifts for friends and relatives.  Last year I stumbled across a recipe for a Pear & Pistachio Cake.  This recipe caught my attention because my dad loves pears and I love pistachio nuts. So this sounded like a perfect combination.  Not only did Dad love the cake so did my friends and they all requested it again this year.  In fact they want me to make it more than just at the Holidays – but then it wouldn’t be so special.

Pear & Pistachio Cake – adapted from Better Homes & Garden

Cake Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh pears, peeled, cored and diced (approximately 3 large pears, I like D’Anjou for this recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cups pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground preferred)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped

 Directions – Cake
Preheat oven to 350F or 325F for convention oven.  Spray 12 small fluted tube pans or one 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray and flour pans.  Set aside.

Peel and core pears, cut into small dice – set aside.  Coarsely chop pistachio nuts – set aside.  Combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves – set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Stir in the flour mixture, pears and nuts.  Divide batter evenly between the prepared tube pans.

Bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans half-way through.  Check to make sure that cakes are baked such that a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  If making a single 10-inch cake bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes.  Invert to remove cakes.  Cool completely before drizzling with frosting and more pistachio nuts.

Directions – Frosting
In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Continue heating until the butter turns an amber brown.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Combine powdered sugar and milk in a large bowl.  This mixture will be quite thick – do not add additional milk at this time.  Add vanilla and slightly cooled butter to bowl and stir until combined.  If the consistency is too thick add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve the consistency you desire.

Drizzle frosting over cooled cakes and sprinkle with finely ground pistachios.  This can be a messy step and I usually do this with the cakes on a rack over a baking sheet to catch the drippings.

Let cakes sit until frosting sets then package as desired – bag with a pretty bow for instance.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as it is a great way to use pears and the salty pistachios complement the sweetness of the frosting.

Dan and Kathryn Bundy, your innkeepers at Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville Virginia.

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