Is there anyone out there who actually loves pears?
I always think of them as a very boring fruit. There’s a tiny window of ripeness where I think they’re okay, but they go soft and mushy so quickly.
I’ve been ordering fruit and veg boxes occasionally, and apart from the dreaded parsley (a bunch showed up in my last box) I’ve also been receiving pears.
Not that pears are on the same annoyance scale as parsley – at least I can bake with them.
This particular recipe doesn’t have the fruit incorporated into the actual cake – instead, chopped pears are cooked in butter and maple syrup until soft. This then all goes on top of the cake batter. While it bakes, as you can see, the pears sink down a little, but mostly stay on top as a soft, sticky layer.
It’s pretty good, particularly with extra maple syrup on top. Much more interesting than actually eating the pears on their own.
(Though I still haven’t figured out what to do with the parsley.)
- 100g butter, softened
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g brown sugar
- 150g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 50g almond meal
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- large pinch of salt
- 450g ripe pears (about 4 medium pears), peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm squares
- 20g butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling
- Line the base of a 20cm baking tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Put the pears in a saucepan with the butter and cinnamon and soften for about 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring from time to time.
- Add the maple syrup and remove from the heat. The pears should be sticky and golden. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Place the butter, sugars, and pinch of salt into an electric mixer and beat until pale and thick.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder, and stir in the almond meal.
- Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl with a fork.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture a little at a time, alternating with the flour mixture, mixing well in between additions.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top. Spoon the pear mixture and any syrup over the batter.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
- Serve warm with more maple syrup drizzled on top.
Adapted from Nigel Slater's Tender Volume 2