- 1-1/2 cups whole hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 ripe medium pears, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
- BROWNED BUTTER GLAZE:
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 3 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-3/4 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-in. fluted tube pan. Chop 1 cup hazelnuts. Place remaining hazelnuts in a food processor; pulse until finely ground.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts.
- In another bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and ground hazelnuts; add to creamed mixture alternately with ricotta cheese, beating after each addition just until combined. Fold in pears and chopped hazelnuts.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For glaze, in a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Heat 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in milk, vanilla and enough confectioners' sugar to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake. Yield: 16 servings.
Originally published as Hazelnut Pear Cake in Taste of Home February/March 2014
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