PEARS: THE FORGOTTEN FRUIT OF FALL
I saw a version of this Pear Almond Cake made with apples and I thought the almond flavor really called for pears more than anything else. The cake is similar to an apple cake I used to make for tea when my British and Australian friends would bring their children over for a play date. This variation was a natural for me to pursue. It uses almond paste instead of the more usual almond flour, resulting in a lighter cake. And the pears are a sweet break from the fall onslaught of apples.
It is important to use just barely ripe pears that will hold their form but still have the sweetness of ripe fruit.
Almond paste is grated and beaten together with melted butter which makes the cake moist and flavorful although not too richly tasting of almond.
Cake flour creates a soft crumb.
And pears, both inside the cake and on top, provide pops of sweetness and flavor.
It all comes together in a cake that is not too sweet, great for an afternoon snack (or for breakfast!)
Once you have mixed the almond paste with the butter, this is a pretty basic cake.
Lots of time spent beating together butter, almond and sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the flour and baking powder until just mixed.
Fold in the pears and put the batter in the pan. Top it with some pear slices and bake the cake.
Once the cake comes out of the oven, finish it by giving it a nice glaze made from apple jelly.
The almond and pear together make a not-too-sweet cake that is perfect any time of day!
PEAR ALMOND CAKE
- 6 pears just ripe
- 1 lemon
- 1 8- oz package of almond paste
- 1 1/3 c butter
- ¾ c sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ c cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ c apple jelly
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” springform pan and line the bottom and side with parchment paper.
- Peel and core the pears. Dice three of the pears into 1” pieces and place in a bowl. Squeeze ½ of the lemon over the diced pear and toss lightly. Slice the remaining three pears into six slices each. Place in another bowl and squeeze the other half of the lemon over it. Toss lightly.
- Coarsely grate or chop the almond paste and put it in the bowl of your mixer. Melt the butter and add to the almond paste. Beat for 1-2 minutes until it is smooth. Beat in the sugar and almond extract. Beat for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until the eggs are mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together. Fold in the diced apples.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly in the pan. Place the apple slices in a decorative pattern on top of the batter, pushing lightly on each slice to anchor them in the batter.
- Bake in a 350-degree oven 60-70 minutes until a tester comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly cover lightly with aluminum foil.
- While the cake is baking melt the jelly over a low flame.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place the cake in the pan on a wire rack. While the cake is hot, brush the melted jelly all over the top. Cool completely before releasing the cake from the pan.
- The cake will keep, covered in plastic wrap for 4-5 days.
Note: ginger is another flavor that pairs beautifully with almond and pear. Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger to the cake for a little bite to the flavor