Hello, strangers! Well, I guess I am the stranger. I could give you a list of excuses for my absence, but that would be long, boring and tedious for us all; though if you are curious please feel free to ask. So, how about I just tell you this wonderful recipe with a unique blend of flavors – Pear, pistachio and ginger blondies from our friend Martha Stewart. These blondies are just lovely. The pear provides a subtle sweetness and the ginger a bit of tang and spice. The pistachios add their fun flavor as well as an expensive crunch (the cost of pistachios is a damn crime!).
The first thing to know about this recipe is that it contains dried pears, which are ridiculously hard to find. I was able to get some from Whole Foods, but that is not always a guarantee. I have made this recipe with dried apples before and though the flavor is different it is still good. Second, candied ginger also is not easy to find either. This blondie is not this blondie without the candied ginger. I have seen it available at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s though sometimes seasonal. I have replaced the candied ginger with ginger candies (not the same thing) and it still gets the same ginger punch, but the texture of the candy is chewy and a little tough in the blondie. So, make the effort to find the right stuff or hold off making these until you can. Third, this recipe only makes a small amount, one 9in round cake pan or a 9x9in square pan. If making this for a party you may be tempted to double the recipe. You can do this but I would HIGHLY recommend baking two separate batches. I have doubled this recipe and baked it in a 9x13in pan and extended the cooking time until the center came out clean. It still tasted amazing, but the problem is that the edges will burn before the center of the blondie is cooked through. If you experiment with doubling the recipe, please let me know what bake temperature and time worked for you. Being able to double it without cooking two batches separately would be much more convenient.
I have made these blondies many times now, and they never cease to amaze and delight everyone who tastes them. So, please, make them and spread the joy!
Pear, Pistachio and Ginger Blondies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped dried, reconstituted (see step #1) pears reconstituted
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped candied ginger
1. Place the dried pears in a bowl and cover with water. Microwave the pears for 2 minutes. Let the pears sit in the bowl for at least 15 minutes. This softens up the pears – reconstituting them. They should have a soft, squishy almost spongy texture when they are ready. If you do not reconstitute them, the dried pears will suck the moisture out of the blondie giving you a dry desert like dessert.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or a round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter parchment; set aside.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in pears, pistachios, and candied ginger.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Check after 45 minutes but may take as long as 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift blondie out of pan; transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely; cut into wedges.