Now is the time when my Concorde pears reach their peak of perfection on the allotment. This variety has better storage properties than most, so we rarely have a problem with too many ripe pears at the same time.
This year is proving to be an exception to the rule as the tree blossomed at exactly the right time during a spell of exceptionally warm weather. This ensured every single bloom was visited by a bee and thus turned to fruit. The tree may be small, but I have over 100 pears and around a month in which to eat them with the juice running down my arms.
So I've devised a variation on my 'Windfall Cake' to soak up some of the abundance. I liked the idea of chocolate and almonds to complement the flavour of the pear and developed a recipe along those lines. It's still a work in progress - the balance of the pear and chocolate flavours with the sugar is right, but there is no hint of almond. A little almond essence is called for methinks.
It's still delicious as it is though, served neat or with a dollop of Greek natural yoghurt to help it go down. Serves 8-12 slices, depending on how greedy you are.
Pear, chocolate and almond cake
4 oz softened butter + a little extra for greasing
4 oz golden granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz self raising flour
4 oz ground almonds
2 oz good quality chocolate pieces (I prefer plain)
4 small ripe pears, peeled cored and chopped into small pieces (best done at the last minute when adding to the cake mixture)
For those of you using metric measures, use 110g for the 4oz ingredients and 55g for the chocolate pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 170oC (fan assisted oven), 190oC (electric oven) or gas mark 5
- Grease a deep 8 inch (20cm) springform round cake tin with a little butter - there is no need to line the tin with baking parchment if it's greased well
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy
- Shell the eggs , add them to the bowl and mix well
- Gradually add the flour and ground almonds - don't be too alarmed if the mixture is a little on the dry side at this point, the pears will add some moisture
- Add the chocolate pieces and the chopped pear; mix together well - the mixture should form a soft dropping consistency
- Scoop out the mixture into the cake tin, ensuring it's evenly spread
- Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly when the centre of the cake is pierced - non fan assisted ovens may take a little longer
- Leave in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out the cake onto a cooling rack
- Slice and serve when fully cooled
Note that the cake won't rise that much owing to the ground almonds. It didn't spoil my enjoyment of the result and the cake had a nice, moist crumb without a heavy consistency. Therefore I'm not going to experiment with the addition of baking powder in the future.
I've just realised it's my blog's 7th birthday today. What better way to celebrate than baking a cake?