Monday, October 24, 2011

sunday suppers

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to ordering Suzanne Goin's cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques which I've been coveting for...well, a long time. I love that it's organized by season and then arranged into menus.

Last night we had our friends Dave and Lindsay over for dinner. We had:

Onion, mushroom and goat cheese on puff pastry
Arugula with champagne shallot vinaigrette, pomegranate, and shaved parmesan
Cumin rubbed cornish game hen
Roasted butternut squash with sage hazelnut pesto
Hazelnut brown butter cake with sauteed pears and vanilla ice cream

The cake was a recipe from Sunday Suppers and it was lovely- maybe even my favorite part of the meal. Lightly sweet and richly flavored with toasted hazelnuts, it was just my kind of dessert.

hazelnut-brown butter cake with sauteed pears from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

5oz (1 heaping cup) blanched hazelnuts 
1/2 lb unsalted butter, plus butter for cake pan
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 extra large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F
Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes, until golden and fragrant

Brush the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan* with melted butter and line with parchment paper

Place the remaining butter in a saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the saucepan, the add the bean. Cook the butter and vanilla over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the butter browns. Set aside to cool and remove vanilla bean.

Grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners' sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add flower and pulse to combine

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the granulated sugar and mix on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks (4-5 minutes). Alternate folding the dry ingredients and the brown butter into the egg whites a third at a time.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour**
Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.

*I used a 9-inch pan and it was fine.
**My cake only needed 40 minutes in the oven.

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