Brown Butter Pear Cake

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About

Sort of a “quick pie without the crust,” this cake has become one of my all-time favorite, most-often-made recipes. It originally came from Karolyn Nelke in New York.


  • 12 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 firm-ripe pears, such as Bosc, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons plus ¾ cup sugar, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9½- or 10-inch pie plate.
    2. To make browned butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue cooking until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Pour the butter into a medium bowl, leaving behind any sediment in the pan.
    3. While the butter is browning, mound the pear slices in the pie plate and sprinkle with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cinnamon. Toss gently with your fingers to coat the pear slices, then spread the fruit in an even layer in the pie plate.
    4. Stir ¾ cup of the sugar into the butter. Gently stir in the eggs and vanilla; stir in the flour just until blended; don’t overmix. Spread this batter evenly over the pears. Sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons more sugar.
    5. Bake until lightly golden and crusty, about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream.