Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pear & Almond Cake

Even before I received a bumper delivery of pears and eggs (see 3) I was thinking of making this cake. We ate it warm with ice cream for pudding with guests, and I had a slice with a cup of coffee the following day. Virtually the same recipe appears in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Family Cookbook and River Cottage Everyday, except that it uses apples in Everyday. Both versions are great.

150g butter (Vitalite, in my case)
125g caster sugar
2 eggs 
1 tsp almond extract
75g ground almonds
75g self-raising flour
3 pears (fairly firm conference pears give the best results)
25g butter & 1tbsp sugar to prepare the pears

Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to 160C
Peel the pears, quarter them length-ways and remove the core. Melt 25g butter in a frying pan, add 1 tbsp sugar, and stir until it bubbles. Add the pear slices and fry them for a few minutes, until they have a few caramelised brown flecks, but without letting them fall apart.
Beat the butter and sugar with a freestanding mixer or an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Break in an egg and beat well, then beat in the second egg, along with the almond extract and a spoonful of flour to stop it curdling. Add the ground almonds, sift in the flour, and fold together gently.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and gently smooth the surface. Arrange the pears on top, and trickle over any juices from the pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.
Serve warm as a pudding with cream or ice cream, or cold  as cake with a cup of tea or coffee.

Right, only another 16 eggs and 15 pears to eat... Pear omelette anyone?! ;-)

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