As we launch 'Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards" Sweet Monday desserts, we couldn't think of a better recipe to feature first, than this one! This cake is incredibly moist, luxurious and decadent. The pears goes back beautifully with the caramel, and as we are approaching Autumn/Winter here in the Southern hemisphere, pears are at their absolute best. The perfect dessert to share with neighbours, friends and family. Adrian Richardson (mentioned in an earlier post) is a renowned Melbourne celebrity chef - go to http://www.lalunabistro.com.au/ to find out more about Adrian and his La Luna Bistro.
Caramelised Pear Cake by Adrian Richardson
2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
2 tbs brandy or rum
120g caster sugar
160g plain flour
1 tbs baking powder
140g unsalted butter, melted
120g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
5 pears, peeled, quartered and cored
Combine the diced pears and brandy or rum in a bowl and set aside. Thoroughly butter a kugelhopf tin.
We didn't have one so we used another round cake tin and it worked fine but without the gorgeous patterns of the kugelhopf tin, which does look very impressive!
Cut strips of baking paper about 10cm wide and lay them around the base of the tin, aiming to cover the base and reach a short way up the sides. This will prevent the pears from sticking to the tin.
To make the caramelised pears, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the sugar and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Increase the temperature to medium-high heat and cook for 8-10 mins to a golden caramel (it's extremely important that you don't burn the caramel, it will taste bitter - so manage the temperature).
Carefully add the pear quarters (the caramel may splutter and spit, so be careful) and cook for 10-12 mins, tossing the pan gently to coat the pears in caramel - they will release their juices and stop the caramel from burning. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for a few moments. Lift the pears out of the caramel and arrange them overlapping around the base of the tin. Reserve the caramel.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. To make the cake, beat the eggs and sugar until pale, thick and creamy. Sift on the flour and baking powder, then gently fold them into the eggs. Drizzle on the melted butter and fold it in. Gently fold in the diced pears and alcohol.
Spoon the batter into the tin to cover the caramelised pears, then drizzle the reserved caramel over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (we found the time took a little longer, but that could be because of the tin we used).
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5-10mins (this is crucial! Don't try and rush this step! We didn't wait long enough and when we turned the tin upside down we had a little problem...the caramel hadn't set enough and the cake wasn't as stable as it should have been! Lesson learned), then invert it onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Carefully peel away the baking paper. Serve the cake with thickened cream - a must :)!
We found our cake to be very moist for a week!