Raspberry Hazelnut Savarins


For one of the first parties I ever catered, I made these raspberry hazelnut savarins. I used the recipe from this cookbook.

I actually own 1986, 1989, and 1990 of these compilation cookbooks, and they’re all fabulous. I honestly don’t know why I quit buying them – maybe they quit making them. Of course, they’re not as sophisticated as today’s cookbooks, especially with regards to the food styling and photography, but all of them have great menu ideas for year-round parties. Plus, there are hundreds of extra recipes as well.

But in any case, I used the recipe and made individual savarins for this party. I also adapted the recipe and made chocolate raspberry savarins – just to give the guests a choice.

I’ve been thinking about making these again for years, because they were such a big hit, and I finally decided to do so today.

I grew up with a variation of a savarin – called a baba au rhum. I never liked them, because I’ve never liked the flavor of alcohol (strong alcohol!), and my mother would soak the dickens out of these little cakes with rum.

As an adult, I still don’t like a heavy hand when it comes to alcohol in baking, but that’s just a personal choice.

These little hazelnutty cakes are made from a yeast-based dough. A hazelnut syrup is brushed on the cakes, and then they are brushed with a raspberry glaze. What’s not to like?!!

The only problem is that I couldn’t remember what pan I used when I made these cakes oh so many years ago. I thought I’d take advantage of my little Nordic Ware pans that look like mini bundt pans, because they’re so cute.

And unfortunately there was a bit too much batter for the pans. Live and learn. I’m not serving these to the queen, so I’ll forgive myself this culinary discretion…

So here is the recipe from the above cookbook, altered only so slightly. Hope you like them!

Hazelnut Raspberry Savarins

1/3 cup half and half
2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 2/3 cup white flour
1/3 cup toasted and finely ground hazelnuts
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk whisked with 1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Warm the half and half in a medium-sized bowl until barely hot. You should be able to hold your pinky in the liquid. Sprinkle the yeast and then the sugar over the half and half. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.

Place the bowl in a warm place, like a turned off oven or warming drawer, for about 10 minutes. The mixture will have foamed up and increased in volume.

Here are some photos I’ve taken of the yeast proofing process, in case you’re not familiar with it.

Step 1: Waiting for the yeast to dissolve. There is always some sugar added to prompt the yeast into action, even if it is just a sprinkle.
Step 2: After stirring the dissolved yeast into the liquid.
Step 3: After about 10 minutes in a warm place. Notice the mixture has practically doubled in volume. It’s foamy and you know that the yeast is working.

Now back to the savarins recipe. You have your proofed yeast and half and half mixture. Whisk 1 cup of flour into the liquid.
Cover the bowl and place it somewhere warm, undisturbed. After 30 minutes, it will look like this:
Give the mixture a stir, then add the hazelnuts and stir to combine.
Then add the eggs and salt and stir to combine. Then add the soft butter.
Stir everything really well. Grease the mold that you are using.
Then fill up the mold or molds. Smooth the tops of the dough. And something I forgot to do – slam the pan onto your counter one time to remove any air bubbles.
Then put the pan back in the warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When I got out my pan after 30 minutes, I knew I was in trouble. This is what they looked like:

Oh well, I baked them as is, for 15 minutes. You will have to bake one savarin for about 25 – 30 minutes, if you made one only.
This is what they looked like:
Let the pan cool for a few minutes, then turn them out onto a jelly roll pan, or something with somewhat of an edge.

Begin brushing the syrup onto the savarins, recipe below.
Then let them cool completely.

They’re so pretty, but I might have to remove the excess before serving. They just don’t look right!

Just before serving, brush a slightly warmed raspberry glaze, recipe below, onto each savarin. You could sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top as well, and also serve each savarin with a small dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream!

1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup Frangelico*

Heat the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Simmer the syrup for about 3 minutes. Remove from the stove, then stir in the Frangelico.

1/4 cup raspberry jam
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Frangelico

Place all ingredients into a small bowl. Heat the mixture slightly to dissolve the sugar, then sieve the mixture to remove the seeds.


* Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur, pictured below. If you don’t have any, use a Chambord or even an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier.
note: You don’t have to use raspberry jam for this recipe. Any flavor will work beautifully.


28 thoughts on “Raspberry Hazelnut Savarins

  1. Absolutely stunning production! I also dislike the strong taste of alcohol in any dessert, and baba au rhum is one of my least favorites, but I am sure these gorgeous savarins you made would be perfect for my taste!

  2. Oh my goodness… I love this!! I just passed up a baking pan like this at the store the other day. I stood there looking at it for the longest time, and then decided against it. Wrong decision!! I have to go back now and buy it, so that I can try these out on my friends… They’re so pretty, and look absolutely delish… :-) Just lovely..

  3. Ooh, more hazelnuts! I will have to make this, or more accurately, pass the recipe on to my daughter, who loves to bake. My sister just came for a visit, and brought some Baba au Rhum that she had canned— I didn’t know you could do this with cake, but she says it used to be done quite commonly.

  4. You do know Ruth Reichl edited the comprehensive Gourmet? I think it came out last year. A compendium of all the volumes that came out over the years – I believe they picked the best recipes. Have to say they are always very reliable and this seems to be no exception

    • Oh year – I remember seeing it. She was the editor for years. Her food writing was so sophisticated that I couldn’t understand her without a dictionary… But yes, Gourmet was a fabulous magazine. I guess it still exists online…

      • Not the way it used to be. I was so bummed when they closed it. Then they sent me Bon Appetit for the remainder of my subscription. The recipes from Gourmet could be pretty convoluted and tiring just to read but the ones in Bon Appetit were just so boring! I am a sucker for literary food magazines – right now my fave is Lucky Peach

      • I need to look into lucky peach. it’s just that I have a huge stack of magazines I haven’t even read yet, so i’m not motivated to purchase any more subscriptions now…

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