Remember these pears? I blogged about them here .... but they have come back to haunt this kitchen in a new manifestation ...
The basic pear recipe got a bit of an upgrade when I made a pear and pecan cake and then used a sweet spicy raisin rum sauce to drizzle over top in lieu of a white sugary glaze. More fruit, a bit of a honey laden and boozy finish on a generous layer of pears that have been baked in the cake's surface. It was simple and surprisingly not too sweet!
Another triumph for Diane Henry with my own personal switch-up of her recipes. Another nice dessert or tea cake.
It all started with these dead ripe pears, peeled and sliced into thin crescents and placed over a batter that is very like a flourless torte (there is a bit of flour in this cake, though). The pears were very juicy and I think, perhaps, that they should be just ripe for a better effect with this cake, as I had to bake the cake a bit longer to get the center of the cake crumbed properly. Know what I mean?
Pear and Pecan Cake
a Diana Henry recipe
4 pears, peeled and cored, sliced at the last minute into crescents
1 c. pecans
9 tbsp. salted butter, cut into lumps)
½ c. sugar plus 1 tbsp. for sprinkling
3 large eggs
2 tbsp. milk
Grated zest of one lemon
¾ c. self-rising flour (I used ¾ c. all-purpose flour, 1 ⅛ tsp. baking powder, and ⅓ tsp. salt)
Making the Cake:
- Place the pecans, flour, sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and whiz until the nuts are completely pulverized and the butter has begun to form a crumbly mass with the rest of the ingredients.
- Whisk the eggs and milk together and add to the dry ingredients along with the lemon zest and whiz to form a smooth batter.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F and grease an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and grease the paper a bit also.
- Turn the batter into the pan and smooth it out.
- Cut the prepped pears into crescents and arrange all the way around the top of the cake in rings, completely covering the batter.
- Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of sugar and bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a cake skewer comes clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
- Remove the cake and let it rest for fifteen minutes on a rack. Then, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan’s sides, remove the spring form sides and finish cooling the cake.
- When the cake is cool, place it on a pretty cake plate and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar OR make a sultana and pine nut glaze.
Sultana and Pine Nut Glaze
¼ c. pine nuts
¼ c. golden sultana raisins
1 – 2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. spiced rum or Calvados brandy
1 tbsp. butter
- In a shallow fry pan, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, turn them onto a cool plate and set aside.
- In the same pan, soak the raisins in the rum for 15 minutes.
- Add the honey and bring the heat up under the pan, bringing the mix to a boil. Let it bubble, stirring frequently until it begins to reduce to a syrup.
- Add the butter to thicken it a bit and then let the glaze cool a bit.
To glaze the cake, sprinkle the raisins and pine nuts over the surface of the cake, drizzle the syrups over all and let the glaze set up.
Sprinkle a light coating of confectioner’s sugar atop the cake and serve with hot tea.