Pear and hazelnut cakes with creme fraiche

A treat: Pear and hazelnut cakes with creme fraiche.


350g brown sugar

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

5 pears, peeled, cut into 2cm slices

60ml dessert wine

1 orange, rind thinly peeled and juiced 

1/2 lemon, rind thinly peeled and juiced

4 eggs

200g butter, melted and cooled

260g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g hazelnut meal

50g poppy seeds

8 tbsp creme fraiche 


Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter 200g brown sugar and vanilla seeds in the base of a roasting pan large enough to fit pears snugly in a single layer.

Arrange pears in the pan, pressing them into the sugar on both sides. Drizzle with dessert wine and citrus juices, scatter with citrus rinds and roast, spooning pan juices over the pears a few times during cooking, until golden and tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Transfer half the pears and 40ml pan juices to a food processor, process to a puree and set aside, reserving remaining pears and syrup.

Whisk eggs and remaining sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, add butter and whisk to combine. Sieve over flour and baking powder, stir to combine, stir in pear puree, hazelnut meal and poppy seeds, then spoon into 8 buttered and floured 200ml metal dariole moulds, smoothing the tops.

Bake until cakes are golden and centres spring back when lightly pressed, 20-25 minutes. Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with remaining roast pears and syrup, and a dollop of creme fraiche.