Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Very Good pear cake

Recently Truffle posted a recipe for a pear and spice cake.

This is one of those dense cakes, more rustic than light-as-a-feather. Just the way I like my cakes to be. Ice cream to serve was suggested, but it’s hard to find a good one. Find one however, I did – a preservative-free rhubarb one, a blush-pink colour that looked rather good next to slices of the golden cake. If I could have just one more piece of cooking equipment, it would be an ice cream churn.

This is pretty much Truffle’s recipe with a few small changes here and there to suit what we had in the cupboard - and I hate mixed peel, so out it went. Truffle’s recipe uses 8 tablespoons of butter which I reckoned on being about 125 g and, seemingly, it worked.

Delicious still warm with ice cream or some plain, thick yoghurt swirled with a little cinnamon and the seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod. You could even add a drizzle of pure maple syrup to the yoghurt, just to sweeten the deal.

Pear and spice cake - enough for 8-10 servings

¾ cup of almond meal
½ cup of polenta
½ cup of plain flour
Large pinch of baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 heaped teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of allspice
125g of unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup of plain, thick yoghurt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2-3 pears, cored and thinly sliced
Extra sugar for sprinkling

You’ll also need a spring form pan approximately 25cm in diameter, though Truffle suggests (wisely) that you could use a smaller one, in which case you will only need 1-2 pears. Grease it and line the base with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Tip the ingredients from the almond meal through to the allspice into a large bowl and using a hand-held whisk, aerate the dry ingredients, whisking out any lumps. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and mix well.

Fold in the dry ingredients, mixing well before spooning into the prepared spring form tin and smoothing the mixture down (not too obsessively) with a spatula. Arrange the pear slices as artfully (or not) as you like on top. Sprinkle a little sugar over the pears and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes away clean.

No photo of finished cake. It was all eaten before I had a chance to do so.

Truly, the mark of a Good Cake.


kitchen hand said...

Very good indeed. I like cakes made with polenta.

Stephanie said...

Sounds great....and I'm just contemplating what I might cook this weekend....

Lucy said...

Me too kitchen hand. Love polenta full-stop.

Stephanie - posted just in time by the looks of things. You must. When the boys discovered it, it was gone in a flash. Wish we had some left...

Truffle said...

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it and yours looks gorgeous pre-baked. For that matter I think all of your photography is beautiful!

Lucy said...

Ah, you're too kind Truffle.

That cake. Oh, my.

Can't thank you enough for sharing the recipe.

Susan said...

The raw pears are beautifully arranged. I'll bet it looked like a Tarte Tatin when you took it from the oven. I like the idea of a polenta frangipane, very nutritious.

Lucy, I would definitely recommend an ice cream maker. Some are space-saving and quite economical. Once you have home-churned, there's no going back.

Lucy said...

Just like a Tarte Tatin, but without the scary burning of fingers and potential spillage!

Susan, that was all the convincing I need. This weekend, I am off to buy a compact, high powered one. I did have one some time ago, but it died recently...thought I could do without.

Apparently not...

Susan said...

What an enchanting photo of pears! Who knew they could be so beautiful? This sounds like an elegant cake that would be perfect for company.

Lucy said...

Yeah, it's quite smart and the pear slices look lovely cooked.

mellie said...

Oooh...this looks like a good winter dessert. And I agree with kitchen hand (...and yourself!), that polenta is a great addition to cakes. Some home churned vanilla bean ice-cream would be the perfect accompaniement too :-)

Lucy said...

Hi Mellie. Ice cream makes so many things better! I'm thinking now that home-made ginger ice cream might be good here too.

Cynthia said...

Ummmm, this recipe is a keeper. That photograph is appealing. I wanted to simply pluck a slice of pear :)

Eva said...

Mmmhh, just the right sort of cake for a cold winter day when you have time to stay under the blanket... Wish I could do that today... For this recipe can I use instant polenta that doesn't have to be cooked very long? There are so many different kinds out there that I'm always get confused.
BTW, I love your veggie photos!

Lucy said...

Hi Eva - absolutely. Instant polenta is really the only kind I can be bothered with at the moment anyway!


Anonymous said...

just wondered if almond meal is the same as ground almonds?

Lucy said...

Hi Anon, yes, they are one and the same I think.