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Tag Archives: pears

Pear and Almond Cake

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This is just another version of my frangipane cake* – a cake made with a frangipane base of butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds. I love this cake and make it often – it’s a food processor cake and very simple.

I used pears as the fruit flavour. At the end of winter in Sydney pears are juicy and plentiful and create a really moist cake.

Ingredients
2 pears
150g butter
150g sugar
3 free range eggs
I teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon almond essence
100g – 125g ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
A handful of flaked almonds to scatter on top of the cake

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Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced.

Peel the pears and poach whole in a sugar syrup in a saucepan until they are just soft. The sugar syrup is enough water to cover the pears with 1/2 cup sugar.

Remove the pears from the syrup and cool. Discard the syrup or you could reduce and use as a sauce for the pears.

Combine butter and sugar in a food processor, with vanilla extract or paste and almond essence. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Fold in ground almonds, plain flour, baking powder and salt.

Put mixture into a greased flan dish, or cake tin lined with baking paper.

Cut the pears into neat slices and place on top of the mixture. Scatter the flaked almonds on top.

Bake for 45 minutes  – 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.

Cool in the tin. You could serve direct from the flan dish if using, or turn out out carefully from the cake tin as I did.

*See also my Apricot Almond Cake, Frangipane Tart and  Cherry Frangipane Tart

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Christmas Pudding Strudel

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This was my Twelfth Night dessert on January 6 2015. I celebrated the Twelfth Night of Christmas with a group of my old uni friends and a few others. I wanted to make something Christmassy but we were all over Christmas cake, pudding and trifle.

I had been fascinated by one of Jamie Oliver’s Christmas specials in which he created a Christmas Pudding strudel. It’s basically layers of filo pastry, filled with grated apple, pear or quince, crumbled Christmas pudding and a surprise chocolate centre.

This is a delicious way of using left over Christmas pudding. I had made a lovely rum and pineapple Christmas pud (see here) for Christmas day, along with an ice cream version. The pineapple one was very big, and so we had heaps left over. Now seemed the appropriate time to try Jamie’s recipe!

I used grated pear in my strudel. I think in retrospect I could have done with less filo layers – 12 all up was a bit much! The chocolate centre was a hit plus lots of demerara sugar on top gave a great crunch.

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Pudding Strudel

Ingredients

12 sheets filo pastry (if frozen, thaw)

125 g butter, melted

1 teaspoon ground  cinnamon

100 g demerara sugar + more for dusting when serving

4 ginger nut biscuits

400 g leftover Christmas pudding

3 apples or pears or 2 quinces or a mixture of the three

50 g good-quality chocolate, roughly chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced.  Lay out 6 sheets of filo pastry on a clean tea towel, overlapping each by an inch or so, so they cover the tea towel.
The filo should cover the tea towel completely, with just a little overhang at one of the shorter ends.

Work quickly so your pastry doesn’t dry out and brush some melted butter all over it. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and 50 g of the sugar, then crumble over your ginger nut biscuits to add crunch. Carefully layer the rest of the pastry sheets on top and brush again with butter.

Use your hands to crumble the Christmas pudding into a bowl then grate in the fruit, everything except the cores. (Jamie says to use the cores  – I don’t think you need them.) You want to have about the same amount of grated fruit as you’ve got pudding. Add about 2 tablespoons of sugar, and mix it all together to break up the pudding a bit more. Sprinkle this all over the pastry so it’s roughly covered, leaving the overhang clear. Place the chocolate in a row on top of the Christmas pudding, down the short side nearest the overhang.

Fold the overhang over the chocolate and pinch it up, then lift up your tea towel, and use it to help you carefully roll up your strudel. Tuck the ends under to seal it and transfer to a large nonstick baking tray. Brush it all over with butter then sprinkle over a little more sugar. If it looks a bit rough, you could wrap an extra layer of filo round it before cooking to make it neater. Bake in the hot oven for about 40 minutes until crisp and golden. You may get a split once cooked – I agree with Jamie that that would add to the rustic effect!

Leave to cool, then use a serrated knife to cut the strudel into 5 cm slices.

Note: This recipe makes quite a large strudel. The photos were taken AFTER my Twelfth Night celebration – what was left is about half of the original.

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Easter Sunday Pastries

 

IMG_0754Easter Sunday 2014 and another beautiful balmy day in the Easter holiday break. Lunch in the garden again, this time lamb to mark the special day.

I barbecued a butterflied leg of lamb, served it with baby new potatoes, Bill Granger’s Asparagus, Pea and Feta Salad (again) and a green salad.

Dessert was the star today – two different pastries focusing on seasonal fruit.

Fig and Raspberry Mille Feuille

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Not really a recipe, more an assembly.

Roll out a quantity of store-bought puff pastry (I buy Careme brand as it’s a butter puff and is very light).  The amount you use is entirely dependent on how many mille feuilles you want to end up with.

Cut into long rectangles. Bake according to the directions on the packet, usually about 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Remove from the oven and cut rectangles into individual pastry lengths. Whiles still warm flatten gently if the pieces are too”puffed”. You can also split the pastry in half to make it easier to fill, and also so that each half of the pastry is not too hard to eat.

When cool, fill with whipped cream flavoured with a little vanilla paste and fresh fruit. I used figs and raspberries as both are delicious and good value at the moment in April in Sydney.IMG_0739

Bill Granger’s Pear Shortcake

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I made a strawberry version of this cake last week and it was so more-ish I had to do it again! This recipe is closer to Bill’s but I included plums as well as a good dollop of my plum and raisin jam.

Ingredients

Filling
30 g unsalted butter, softened

40 g caster sugar

2 small pears and 4 plums

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 tbsp plum jam*

Milk, to brush the pastry

1 tbsp demerara sugar

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Shortcake pastry


125 g unsalted butter

125 g castor sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

175 plain flour

50 g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

Method
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until the butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Add the chopped pears and plums and cook over low heat for 8 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat and stir through the plum jam, being careful not to break up the fruit. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together. Divide the dough in half, pat in to discs, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a round about the size of the tin, then press one round into tin. Spoon the pear and plum mixture and any juices over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge.

Top with the remaining dough round and press the edges together to seal. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes or until until golden (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Cool in tin for 20 minutes before carefully removing from the tin.

*The recipe for plum and raisin jam: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/28/autumn-jams/

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Red Wine, Pear and Almond Cake

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This is essentially an upside down pear cake. The recipe is based on Valli Little’s recipe from Delicious Home Cooking: http://shop.abc.net.au/products/delicious-home-cooking-hbk.

The recipe is very similar to my own Frangipane Tart: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/01/quirkys-frangipane-tart/

Ingredients

375 mls red wine
300 gms caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills ( I used cassia quills instead)
3 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
150 gms butter
3 free range eggs
75 gms plain flour
150 gms almond meal
1 1/2 tsps baking powder

Method

Place the red wine and 150 gms of the sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon/cassia and the pears, making sure all the pear slices are submerged in the red wine.

Cover the surface with a piece of baking paper cut to fit the pan. Cook for a minimum of 10 minutes or until the pears are tender.  I found that the pears needed 20 minutes or so to cook. You can cook the pears the day before, leaving them to steep in the poaching liquid for a richer, deeper flavour and colour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (less if your oven is fan forced – I suggest 160 degrees C). Grease a 22 cm springform tin.

Beat butter and remaining 150 gms sugar in a food processor until pale and well creamed.

Optional: 1 tsp almond essence and 1 tsp vanilla paste can be added to the creamed butter and sugar at this point for more depth of flavour.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour, almond meal and baking powder, by pulsing carefully.

Drain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid. Arrange the pears slices in the springform tin in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping. Spread over the cake batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil to prevent burning.  When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Place your poaching liquid in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook for 6 – 10 minutes until reduced and syrupy.

Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Brush the warm cake with the poaching syrup, using a pastry brush. You can brush the cake with more syrup just before serving, if desired.

Serve with lashings of whipped cream, custard or ice-cream!

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