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 :
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
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Minty Chocolate Brownies
Pear & Walnut Brownies (makes 1 x 8 inch (20 cm) square tin – 16 brownies)
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and base-line a nonstick 8 inch/20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, sugars and vanilla extract (preferably with a whisk) to blend completely.
- Add the dry ingredients and chocolate mixture to the bowl and fold through thoroughly until well blended and even in colour.
- Fold through the cubed pear and chopped nuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until firm, but so that a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely in the tin.
- When cold, chill in the fridge for an hour (to make it easier to cut) before slicing into squares.
- Decorate (or not) as you wish.
- 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).