for poached pears:
- 3 cups water
- 2 Tbspn sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 tspn cloves
- 1 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 mini pears
- In a small pot, combine the water, sugar, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Meanwhile, peel the pears and hollow out the seeds using a melon baller from the bottom end.
- Poach the pears in the simmering water until fork tender all the way through, about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pears.
- Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside.
for cognac caramel:
- 2 Tbspn butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 tspn coarse salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup cognac
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar and coarse salt. Cook until the sugar has melted.
- Slowly add the water to the sugar and bring to a bowl. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the cognac. Set aside.
for pudding cake:
- 6 Tbspn butter
- 2 oz. pecans, toasted and finely ground
- 1 cup AP flour
- 2 tspn baking powder
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 1 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
- powdered sugar, optional
- heavy cream, optional
- Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
- In a small saucepan with a light-colored bottom, melt the butter. Cook over medium heat until the solids in the butter drop to the bottom and brown. Remove from heat and set aside. Solids will continue to brown as it sits.
- Combine the ground toasted pecans, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together lightly beaten eggs and brown sugar. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Slowly add the brown butter, making sure to incorporate it fully into the liquid.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two stages, combining thoroughly. Do not overmix.
- Divide the batter amongst the six ramekins/mini cocottes. Pour the cognac caramel over the batter, diving amongst the six ramekins. Place a single poached pear in the center of each ramekin, pressing down into the batter. Batter should reach the near the top brim of the cocotte.
- Bake for ~30 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are dry and a toothpick insert 3/4 of the way in the cake comes out cleanly. Remove from oven and let cool at least five minutes before serving.
- Serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar or heavy cream.