Saturday, 13 October 2018

Autumn Windfall Pear & Walnut Brownies (gluten free)

Recently I've had a bit of a love affair with Brownies.... These Pear and Walnut Brownies are a perfect Autumn addition to my collection.  Simple to make and dappled with succulent, fresh fruit and crunchy, earthy walnuts, they welcome the abundance of the harvest and hint of the cooler, winter days to come.

I am lucky enough to live in Kent, the 'Garden of England'.... the south-eastern most corner of the UK, famed for its fruit growing, cabbage fields and cobnuts... its hops and vineyards...  oysters and Dover Sole.... and its more recent addition of 'Thanet Earth'... a complex of temperature and light controlled glass houses which enable the production of fresh fruit and veg year round.

Pears and walnuts are two of my favourite local ingredients (although Kentish walnuts appear slightly later in the year). When the end of summer beckons, boxes piled high with ripe picked pears and windfalls start appearing outside the gates of houses, sharing abundance in the community with hand-scribbled envelopes which read 'help yourself'. It seems every third house has a pear tree in the garden.... or an apple..... a plum.... a cobnut... a damson.... the harvest share is a delight.

With the incredibly hot 2018 summer we have 'endured' in this part of the world, I am sad to say that the harvest has definitely suffered, although I was still lucky enough to be offered a bag full of pears from a friend with too many to manage herself. In addition to inspiring a rather delicious pear and raspberry crumble, the gift inspired these Pear and Walnut Brownies, which I have to say, were absolutely delicious.

Brownies can often be over-sweet and are a popular chocolate and sugar fix, but I prefer to make mine seeking depth rather than sweetness in the ingredients I use. The soft, wet texture and fruitiness of the fresh pear helps to cut through the sugar as does the craggy, almost bitter, earthiness of the walnut. The brownies also have a more caramel-intense sweetness that comes from using a less-refined mixture of golden caster and brown sugars.

I have a number of Brownie recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist, with an array of brownie-textures. Personally, I love them all.... soft and fluffy..... drier and slightly crumbly.... dense and more gooey. These particular brownies err on the side of gooey, but not so much that they clag in your teeth. Whatever the texture however, they can often be tricky to cut. Whilst they should always be cooled completely in the tin, before turning out, I also find that placing them in the fridge for an hour to firm up allows for a more even, clean cut... after which you can bring them back to room temperature for the best texture and flavour experience.

In celebration of Autumn, I am sharing these amazing Pear and Walnut Brownies with :

Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice
Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes


Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain and Jo's Kitchen Larder
Fiesta Friday with Angie, Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and The Pantry Portfolio
What's for Dinner with The Lazy Gastronome

More Fresh Pear Inspiration on Gluten Free Alchemist
Pear & Chocolate Cake
Mocha-Pear Upside Down Cake
Winter Ginger & Pear Trifle
Brown-Sugared Pear & Ginger Preserve
Heavenly Chocolate, Walnut & Pear Torte
Sweet Autumn Dessert Yorkshires with Vanilla Sauteed Pear & Walnuts and Blackberry Coulis
Raw Green Smoothie

More Brownie Inspiration on Gluten Free Alchemist
Beetroot Brownies
Chocolate-Banana-Coconut Brownies
Gooey Brownies
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Minty Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate-Cherry-Pecan Brownies
Toblerone Brownie

Pear & Walnut Brownies (makes 1 x 8 inch (20 cm) square tin - 16 brownies)


300g good quality dark chocolate - cubed
150g unsalted butter
100g plain GF flour blend (I used GFA blend A from this post)
50g ground almonds
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
3 large eggs
60 ml milk
70g golden caster sugar
70g soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g fresh pear cubes (no peel or pips) - approx 1 medium-large pear
65g walnuts - rough chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and base-line a nonstick 8 inch/20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a medium glass, heatproof bowl, melt together the chocolate and butter either in a microwave (medium setting, 30 second bursts, stirring between each until smooth) or over a simmering pan of water. Set aside.
  3. Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, salt and baking powder until well blended and all lumps are broken down (I weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, sugars and vanilla extract (preferably with a whisk) to blend completely.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate mixture to the bowl and fold through thoroughly until well blended and even in colour. 
  6. Fold through the cubed pear and chopped nuts.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top.
  8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until firm, but so that a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few crumbs attached. 
  9. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the tin.
  10. When cold, chill in the fridge for an hour (to make it easier to cut) before slicing into squares. 
  11. Decorate (or not) as you wish.
  12. Store at room temperature and eat within 2 days (or in the fridge it will last longer, but bring to room temperature before eating for best squidginess). 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Wow! This looks amazingly good!! I haven't tried adding pear to my brownies, but this looks really yummy!! Thanks for sharing & happy Fiesta Friday. x

    1. Thanks Jhuls. I would definitely recommend it. Pear and chocolate is a fab combination x

  2. What can I say, these brownies look just gorgeous! Fabulous idea to add walnuts and pear to this recipe. I personally really like chocolate recipes with fruit. Thank you for bringing it to #CookBlogShare

  3. Saw this on twitter and had to come over and drool. I have some pears from the garden. I have preserved some, but now am wanting to make this - but guess what I have a Dorset Apple cake in the oven too, as we have a windfall of cooking apples to use up as well. So for now, will continue to drool....

  4. These brownies sound delicious and I love the fact that they are not too sweet like a lot of brownies are. Not that I mind that usually though! Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice x

  5. Well I have been looking for a gluten free recipe to serve at my book club. Thank you. And thank you for bringing them to FF.

  6. these sound so lovely - as does your little patch of the world with surplus left out to share - I really love walnuts but can get a little unsure about pears until I eat them and remember how good they are - a great autumnal treat

    1. Aww thank you Johanna. I love it when there is a community share. I have to say I love a pear, but I have to eat them firm. Hubby likes them soft which always causes amusement as we can't seem to enjoy them at the same time x

  7. You've only recently had a love affair with brownies??? I think these might be the prettiest brownies I've ever seen Kate - just gorgeous. The flavours sound pretty good too. I adore walnuts and pears are fantastic at this time of year. Chocolate and pear is a classic combination which I also really like.

    1. Awww thank you Choclette. What a lovely comment. I love chocolate and pear together.... such an under-rated combo x

  8. Yummy!. Thanks so much 🙂 😉 Great to be part of FF!

  9. These both look and sound wonderful Kate! Pears and walnuts make fantastic autumnal flavour combination, add chocolate to the equation and you are in heaven! I've got some pears on the way in my weekly fruit and veg box so might just have to make these! :) Thank you for sharing with #BakingCrumbs :) xx

  10. Oh My Lord! I wasn't always enthusiastic about pears - apples are my preferred fall fruit - but now I am!

    1. I think apples are easier to eat, but pears have a more interesting flavour. Either way, pears definitely pair well with chocolate! x

  11. Gorgeous as always! Love the flavour combination & will pin for next year when our pears are ready!

  12. What a gorgeous combination of seasonal ingredients. A great excuse to make a batch of brownies.

  13. These look so incredibly tempting Kate, I love how you've presented them with the cute rosette of piped frosting to the top of each one. Simply stunning! Fabulous autumn flavours too :-) Thankyou for continuing to link up with #BakingCrumbs,
    Angela x

    1. Thanks Angela. I've had a bit of a step back from the blog recently, but you can be sure than when I bake, I'll come and share x


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