Pear brownies are a delcious treat after supper or for tea. Adding hazelnuts instead of traditional walnuts is an inspired twist

Pear brownies are the perfect treat at any time. And a sure fire hit after shooting. The pear, and added hazelnuts, give a pleasing texture and are an interesting twist on the traditional recipe.

Pear brownies with hazelnuts are for every shooting host who’s ever glanced surreptitiously at his watch as the third course appeared. They are very welcome but don’t require enormous ceremony and can be easily popped into a big dish on the table for everyone to grab on their way out.

If you did want something with more ceremony then chocolate mousse with honeycombe is a good alternative.

Pear brownies with hazelnuts

Serves 4
■ 500g (1lb) sugar
■ Water
■ 400g (14oz) pears
■ 115g (4oz) butter
■ 115g (4oz) dark chocolate
■ 200g (7oz) light brown sugar
■ 70g (3oz) peeled hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
■ 2 eggs, beaten
■ 70g (3oz) self-raising flour
■ 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

Mix two parts sugar with one part water and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved to make syrup.

Peel the pears and poach them in the syrup (use a plate or small lid to keep them submerged) until they are soft and cooked through but hold their shape. Allow them to cool in the syrup, then core them and cut into 1cm dice. You can use the leftover syrup to make pear sorbet, which works well as a palate cleanser and is an enjoyable way to use up a glut of pears.

To make the pear brownies, melt the butter, chocolate and brown sugar in a large pan over a gentle heat. When smooth, remove from the heat and add the nuts and egg. Fold in the pieces of pear, then sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold until well combined.
Pour into a lined square cake tin and bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, or until the mixture no longer wobbles in the centre when shaken. Turn off the oven and allow the brownies to cool inside. Once cooled, turn out and cut into squares. They’ll keep for up to a week in a tin. Serve pear brownies with a large jug of cream.