Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pear and cardamom cake

A lightly spiced autumnal treat of a cake, in the tarte tatin tradition. I cook this in a deep 9 inch frying pan which has a removable handle so that I can caramelise the pears, pop the cake batter over the top and put it straight in to the oven. If you don't have one, caramelise the pears and then arrange them on the bottom of a normal cake tin (8-9 inch)

150 g  butter
150 g caster sugar
150 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
2 tbsp milk

crushed seeds from 10 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 ripe pears (depending on size)
30 g butter
30 g  soft brown sugar

Pre heat oven to 180 C

Peel, de-core and quarter the pears, removing mushy bits.
In a frying pan or shallow saucepan melt 30g of butter and the brown sugar over a medium heat. When melted add the pear and start to gently caramelise 3-4 mins on each side, turning gently - until they are starting to take on a little golden colour. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Beat the soft butter and sugar together till light and fluffy with electric whisk. Add eggs one by one whisking in. Then flour, vanilla and baking powder. Whisk for 2 mins, then add in the milk to loosen the mix a little.

Arrange the pear quarters prettily in a radiating pattern from the centre. Sprinkle over the cardamom seeds and lay the cinnamon stick on the base of the pan. Pour the cake mixture over.

Bake for 20-25 mins. It will be quite dark on top - check with a skewer to make sure the cake is cooked through.

Leave to cool in the pan for 10 mins, before loosening the edges with a knife, putting a large plate over the top, taking a deep breath and flipping the cake over.

Enjoy warm with cream or ice cream, or cold.

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