Pistachio Torte with Pear Purée

Pears and pistachios. Super combo. So I thought I'd share a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Sweet Seasons, by Richard Leach. It's a brilliant cookbook with fabulous photography and composed desserts. When I make something from this book, I concentrate on three or four elements of his desserts and call it a successful day if I can make it look even half way as luscious as the book does. My most recent attempt is the the Pear and Pistachio Torte.

I really screwed up the genoise! Well, no, perhaps it wasn't me, but the recipe doesn't read correctly in the cookbook. It calls for dividing the genoise into two cake pans but then gives directions for slicing only one in three 1/4 inch pieces. I took one look at it, measured and decided it was impossible to do, so I ended up dividing each one in half and making four layers instead of three. Perhaps my genoise didn't rise enough? Never  mind, it tasted divine, made a lovely presentation and if you love pears and pistachios, you'll adore this cake.

Pear and Pistachio Torte with Roasted Pear Purée

From Sweet Seasons by Richard Leach

Pistachio Genoise:
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
1/2 cup pistachio flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Roasted Pear and Mascarpone filling:
1/2 cup roasted pear puree (recipe follows)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Roasted Pear Purée
5 bartlett pears
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons Pear Williams liqueur

Preheat oven to 325. Generously butter two cake 8 inch round cake pans. Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk over hot water until slightly warm. With an electric mixer, beat until fluffy and pale yellow, 8-10 minutes.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients and then the butter. Pour into the cake pans and bake 30 minutes or until golden and firm to then touch. Cool slightly in the pans, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. Easier to slice a cold cake.

Combine all ingredients, whisk until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the Pear Purée:
Preheat oven to 450. Peel, core and quarter the pears. Heat a heavy roasting pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add butter and pears. Roast for about 10 minutes until nicely browned. Add the honey and roast the pears until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove and deglaze the pan with the liqueur. Cool and purée in a food processor. Set aside.

Assemble the cake:
Slice the genoise horizontally into three 1/4 inch slices. (Huh? I divided each cake in half, horizontally.) Place one on the bottom, pipe in the mascarpone filling and continue until you have 3 (4) slices of genoise and two (three) layers of filling. Refrigerate 4 hours.
Cut the cake into 8 equal pieces, slice the rounded end of each so it will sit straight and serve in a pool of pear purée. (It looked to me as though Chef Leach made a crème anglaise as well, so I did too and poured it over the pear puree.) Scatter some grapes on the plate. 

Never forget.


  1. Bravo!! I'd love to have a fork right now. Love the combination. It took me several tries to get a genoise right. Now it has been a long time since I've made one. It might be back to square one!!


  2. oh my....I really would like a piece of this right now....and that last photo of yours is amazing. xoxox HUGS

  3. Look amazing Barbara!! nice !

    We never forget too Barbara!

  4. Delicious! Pear, marscapone, and pistachio sounds like a glorious combination!

  5. What a magnificent cake Barbara! This is a recipe that I'd really like to try someday, a recipe that I would save for a very special occasion. It presents beautifully! Well done!

  6. Beautiful and so irresistible! A great cake.



  7. Oh My Gosh! These looks delicious. My stomach's rumbling just by seeing it. Yum! Yum!
    albury motels

  8. I think your cake is gorgeous! The genoise included. :)

  9. Your cake looks lovely - really! Sometimes even a published cookbook has errors and it can be difficult to figure out how to correct them. It looks like you completely succeeded!

  10. That is a thing of beauty! I am certain that people too often overlook the humble pistachio.

  11. You did a fantastic job:) When you showed their version..I was expecting..well something.. that may have turned out badly..it was a pleasure to see your perfect layers:) You must have been so happy with the outcome..
    Hmm..pistachio flour..I have never seen that..must do some research..:)

    I'll never forget.It is so easy to tear up thinking of it.

  12. Looks like dessert is on the menu for the weekend.

  13. Looks like dessert is on the menu for the weekend.

  14. Looks like dessert is on the menu for the weekend.

  15. Very elegant and professional Barbara!!

  16. This is beautiful! I never knew there was such thing as pistachio flour, but I will be on the lookout!

  17. Another for my must-try list. I love both pear and pistachio, and this one, I believe the Knight would try too...

  18. What a beautiful presentation Barbara. Very stunning. I'm not familiar with pistachio flour. Will be on the look-out.

  19. it still looks darn good to me! i don't think i've ever had a cake like this.

  20. Pistachio genoise... wow! Great idea for a cake. I can't see how you could make the slices any other way.. how do you slice 2 cakes in 3 slices??? Someone wrote things out incorrectly. I've already put pistachios on my list for this one... mmm looks so good.

  21. I like your version better!

  22. Barbara...what a beautiful and tasty dessert...like the idea of pistachio flour in the cake and so flavorful with the pear puree and mascarpone...and yes, the math is not quite right there ;-)
    Hope you are having a wonderful week :)

  23. Absolutely beautiful, Barbara. That filling looks heavenly. Bartlett pears are in season here and I can't wait to try this. Did you make your own pistachio flour?

  24. This is stunning, Barbara. I've never had pears and pistachio together but thinking about it, I can imagine they're a lovely combo!

    Yes, never forget. xo

  25. I love picking parts and pieces of complicated dishes to recreate at home. Your torte looks amazing! The creme anglais and pear puree sound divine.

  26. I think yours came out beautifully! And I will never forget, can't ever forget....



  27. Hi Barbara,

    This dessert looks very complicated to make and yet you have baked it so well.



  28. I love both pears, and pistachios and it is such a brilliant combo! If I saw your dessert in the shops, I would have ordered it straight away!

  29. i'm all about that creamy pear filling! what a stunning cake!

  30. Your cake turned beautifully, Barbara. It looks absolutely delicious and I love the combination of flavors! What a wonderful dessert for a special occasion.

  31. the more layers the merrier, I'd say! Your torte looks luscious, one that I'd like to make this fall.

  32. Yummy! Delicious cravings... Glad you shared some of your recipes. Thanks!

  33. Oh it looks like graham! yummy!



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