Pear and Chestnut Crumb Cakes

Its no secret that with chestnuts, it was ‘love at first taste’ for me. They are in season and I can’t seem to get enough of these mildly sweet nuts. Warm roasted chestnuts with spicy Indian chai is the usual deal on winter evenings. But lately, I am on the lookout for recipes to cook with ‘em. Recently, Vegetarian Times published a few chestnut recipes, as though answering my request. I tried every one of ‘em, including these pear chestnut crumb cakes. I made some modifications to the original recipe, with wonderful results.

Pear and Chestnut Crumb Cakes

(Makes 12 big or 18 medium muffins)

Crumb Topping

Almonds – 1 cup, finely chopped
Jaggery or brown sugar – ¼ cup


Whole wheat pastry flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Ground cardamom – 1 tsp
Ground allspice – 1 tsp (or use 1 crushed clove)
Salt – ½ tsp
Butter – 4 tbsp
Applesauce – 1/3 cup
Jaggery or brown sugar – 1 cup
Eggs – 2
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Low fat milk – 1 cup
Ripe pears – 2 big or 3 small, cored and diced
Chestnuts – 1 cup, cooked, peeled and chopped*


Preheat oven to 350F. Line the muffin tin with liners. Mix almonds and jaggery for the crumb topping. Set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. In a different bowl, cream butter, jaggery and applesauce together, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Mix in flour alternating with milk. Finally, fold in pears and chestnuts. Take care not to over mix the batter.

Scoop the batter onto the cupcake liners, top with the crumb topping and bake for about 25 minutes for large muffins or 20 minutes for standard size muffins. Test doneness by inserting a clean knife into the muffin. They should come clean. Take the muffins out, cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with coffee or ice cream.

* To cook chestnuts, score an X on top of the shell. Fill a pot with water, drop chestnuts and boil for 20 minutes. Drain, cool and peel the skins. Or roast them as shown here.

The cakes were very moist and mildly sweet, thanks to the pear and chestnuts. They also freeze well, making them a perfect snack, any time of the day.

Getting through the day with pear-chestnut crumb cake and coffee

I am sending this to Eating with the Seasons: December by Maninas:Food Matters.


amna said...

lovely pics! warm and very 'wintery' :)

Unknown said...

Absolutely fantastic and beautifully captured.

Raaga said...

lovely :) we dont get chestnuts here though

Pavani said...

I never tried chestnuts. Will have to try these crumb cakes.. They look scrumptious.

Varsha Vipins said...

looks so good n tempting Suganya..loved the last pic

indosungod said...

Lovely muffins Suganya. It is the same deal here regarding chestnuts "love at first taste".

Vanamala Hebbar said...

so nice ... nice recipe

Anonymous said...

Yum.. your cake looks lovely! I love pear :)

veggie belly said...

this looks great! i'd have never thought of putting pears in crumb cake. sounds delish!

Anonymous said...

Loved the way you are getting thru your day... I have never used chestnut. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I just love love your blog.....i have tried most of your sweet snacks ...recent one was the pound this one is next....ur blog inspires me to cook and eat healthy...thanks


SMN said...

Suganya even im in love wth the fruit and cant get enough of it. my husband feels so helpless during its season.

Lovely pics and looks yum bookmarked it.

Anonymous said...

These look so delicious!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

chestnuts are truly incredible! i bought a bag of chestnut flour and have baked a few interesting cakes with that! but this is truly lovely!

Anonymous said...

Delicious! Very nice pictures.

Kalai said...

Goodness, they look so tempting, Suganya! Love the pic with the coffee cup. Definitely a must try. :)

Rathna said...

Yummy muffin Suganya. Love the way you put things. Never tried Chestnuts before. Seen them at Whole Foods last few weeks now, but was hesitant to try them. Will definetly try them this weekend. Thank you for the recipe.

Cynthia said...

Love the last photograph in particular.

Trupti said...

cake looks very delicious to have some

Shreya said...

Simply amazing. Love the last picture...the crumb cakes are to die for!

Anonymous said...

mmm i'd looove one of these now! thanks for a fabulous and very tempting entry!

Ann said...

WOW.. before talking about the recipe, I want to talk abt your Photography skills.. every single pic looks SOOO Fine and professional!!

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