Poire William and chopped pears and pistachios flavor the cake, which is filled with pear Bavaria cream.

Martha Stewart Living, November 2004


Recipe Summary

Makes 6




Instructions Checklist
  • Make cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-12-inch baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter lining; then flour pan, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

  • Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of milk. On low speed, mix in 1/4 cup brandy and the pear and nuts.

  • Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake until golden brown and springy to the touch, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  • Invert cake to unmold; peel off parchment. Using a long serrated knife, trim off sides of cake. Cut cake crosswise into quarters (each about 2 1/2 inches wide). Split quarters horizontally into 3 strips each (to make 12 strips total).

  • Cut 10 strips crosswise into 6 (1/2-by-2 1/2-inch) rectangles. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds from remaining 2 strips.

  • Line 6 charlotte molds (4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches high) or 10-ounce ramekins with overlapping strips, standing them vertically (about 10 strips per mold). Press 1 round onto bottom of each mold. Using remaining 1/2 cup brandy, brush cake in molds.

  • Make filling: Puree pear and brandy in a food processor; set aside. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just about to simmer.

  • Whisk together yolks, sugar, and salt. Pour half of hot milk into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add yolk mixture to the remaining hot milk in pan; whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat back of spoon. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl set in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally.

  • Beat cream to soft peaks; set aside. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup water in a medium heatproof bowl. Let stand 1 minute to soften. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir gelatin mixture into custard in ice-water bath. Stir in pear puree.

  • Whisk mixture in bowl in bath until it thickens to a puddinglike consistency. Whisk in whipped cream. Divide mixture among molds (about 1/2 cup per mold). Cover with plastic wrap directly on surfaces; refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Run a knife around edges of charlottes; invert onto plates. Serve cold.