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brown butter pear cranberry ginger and hazelnut cake with a buttery whiskey glaze

Gently ripe Bartlett pears 🍐 are what you want for this cake.  They should be peeled, cored and cut in small bite size pieces.  The small chunks of pear look beautiful next to the bursts of chopped cranberries throughout this gingery cake that I baked in a standard loaf pan.  I would not forget a generous drizzle of the buttery whiskey glaze to adorn the cake's top, especially if serving for a special dessert.  However, we also enjoyed thick slices for breakfast without the glaze, also very good with coffee.

I'm going to have my eyes checked this afternoon and am wondering if I should wear a mask, spacesuit and a diaper to go to the doctor's 🥼 office.  We have been staying home, mostly-except for a few approved activities, like going to to the grocery store, woo hoo.  But, now we need to do things, like get our eyes 👀 checked, this pandemic is really getting old, so over it.  I digress, here is the recipe for this lovely cake that is perfection, not to overstate- for our housebound holidays.  ps. my cookie jar is empty, I can't take it, that will be changing soon.

Ingredients and Recipe for Brown Butter Pear Cranberry Ginger and Hazelnut Cake with a Buttery Whiskey Glaze ~serves 8-10~

for the cake
1/2 cup ( one stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/16 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 & 1/2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped, about 1 cup of chopped pear
1 cup fresh cranberries, lightly chopped
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger 
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar

for the buttery whiskey glaze
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon whiskey

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Coat a standard loaf pan with baking spray

Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan, continue cooking for several minutes until butter begins to turn brown, when it smells like brown butter, remove from the heat.  Pour the brown butter into a large heatproof glass bowl, let cool slightly.
Stir in the brown sugar, maple sugar and two large eggs, whisk until combined and smooth.
Add the sour cream, vanilla, salt and nutmeg, whisk until well combined and smooth.
Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda, again whisking until well combined.
Stir in the pears, cranberries, hazelnuts and ginger.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, press and smooth the top with an offset spatula and sprinkle the Demerara sugar evenly on the top.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the top is puffed and golden and a cake tester inserted comes away clean.
Cool the cake for about 10 minutes in the pan before removing, continue cooling on a metal rack.
Wrap the cake in plastic wrap to store.  
The cake can be stored at room temperature for several days.

Make the buttery whiskey glaze in a small heavy saucepan.
Stir the brown sugar and water together, heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.
Cook for a few minutes, until mixture caramelizes, turning a dark amber color.
Remove from the heat, with a long handled wooden spoon-carefully stir in the butter and the cream.  I like to do this in my deep stainless steel sink to avoid splatters or being burned.
Add the whiskey and whisk until smooth.
Cool the sauce slightly before serving a generous drizzle over slices of cake.
The buttery whiskey glaze can be stored in the fridge for a week.


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