Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Feel the Love...

I adore Dorie Greenspan's French Apple Tea Cake.  I make it often and it never disappoints.  It is my all time favourite, 'hand on my heart' cake recipe and I wonder how I ever got along in life as a home baker before I found Dorie. 

Yesterday I decided to give it a couple of tweaks -  I know it is almost blasphemous to mess with perfection, but I like experimenting and believe that if you have a fair idea of what you are doing, you can always adapt a recipe/substitute like ingredients to a degree.  I mean, isn't imitation the finest form of flattery?

Results are thus - I just want to shout from the rooftops how wonderful my new cake is.  By swapping apples for ripe pears , decreasing the original amount of rum and adding a little fresh grated nutmeg, the cake is elevated from really good to extraordinary - well in my humble opinion anyway!

Pear and Nutmeg Tea Cake (Recipe tweaked and inspired by Dorie Greenspan's French Apple Tea Cake - and borrowed from David Lebovitz.com)

Makes One 8 inch (20cm) cake

3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 ripe pears (don't use pears that are over ripe as they won't hold their shape in the cake)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
Heavily butter and line an 8 inch (20cm) spring form pan and place it on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
Peel, core and dice the pears into 1 inch chunks.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until pale and thick (they should double in size) then beat in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Fold in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter.
Fold in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
Gently fold in the pears until they well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan.  
Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no pears are stuck to it.

This cake is delicious with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream or a lazy dollop of creme fraiche. 

Until next time,

Buon appetit!

Kitty xx

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