To my mind there is nothing sweeter than a really ripe pear, just the thought of all those natural sugars and soft melting flesh makes me dream of cake. So when I saw a large bag of slightly under ripe pears in the supermarket I was tempted to buy...and then the price confirmed it...only £1!
On my way home in the car I dreamt of what I might make with my bargain pears...cake, pudding, jam - all three? So once the shopping was unpacked and stored; not a chore that I enjoy having just loaded it into the trolley, loaded it into bags and then loaded it into the car; I made myself a coffee and sat down with a couple of cookbooks.
One of my favourites at the moment is Hugh FW's Everyday, and I wasn't disappointed as in there I found a recipe for an Apple and Almond Pudding cake which looked delicious. As it says in the title Hugh uses apples and adds cinnamon as his spice.
I changed the recipe to use my lovely pears with ginger as the spice and where Hugh uses almond essence for extra flavouring I added Amaretto liqueur. Served with custard this cake proved a real hit. I'm looking forward to trying a slice with my morning coffee and/or afternoon tea!
Pear, Ginger and Amaretto Cake
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
25g unsalted butter
1 tbsp unrefined granulated sugar (I might try honey next time)
150g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
75g self raising flour
75g ground almonds
half a tsp ground ginger
1 tsp (or a bit more) Amaretto
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line an 8" round cake tin. Melt 25g butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the granulated sugar and stir gently until it has dissolved. Add the pears and cook gently, turning once or twice, until they have softened and are starting to colour, this takes about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs, adding a spoonful of the flour if required to stop the mix curdling. Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds and ginger. Gently stir in the Amaretto and then put the mixture into the prepared tin. Arrange the pears on top and pour over any juices from the frying pan.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the tin before taking out. Serve the cake warm with luscious custard.