Sunday, 5 April 2009

Double the wine, double the fun?

Alright, that’s overstating it.

Pears are clearly in season right now, and the incredibly low prices reflect this. Being a seasonal sort of shopper, I can’t resist picking up a kilo or so, but this then leaves me wondering what to do.

Having bought some beurre boscs, I had to think about how I would cook them. I thought about a tart, but the previous week I had made apple and pear almondy tarts, and I thought it would be overkill to have pastry two weeks running. So I settled on a cake – but a prettier one than I would usually manage.

Inspired by this recipe, I decided to poach the pears in wine: half in red, and half in white. I then made an almondy cake batter, poured it into a tin and arranged the alternating pear slices on top. For once I managed to make something that actually looked good!

Recipe: Two-Wine Pear Almond Cake

3 beurre bosc pears
100g sugar
3 cardamom pods
½ cup each of white and red wine

80g soft butter
50g sugar
3 eggs
150g plain flour
50g almond meal
20g chestnut flour
Vanilla essence

Peel the pears, slice in half and core. Put the wine in two separate saucepans with 50g sugar and about half of the bashed cardamom in each. Medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add three pear halves to each pan. Cook until the pears are softened (this took about 45 minutes). Remove pears, turn up the heat and reduce the poaching liquid until thick and syrupy.

Slice the pears thinly.

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees.

Put the softened butter into the bowl of a mixer along with the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla – as much as you like. I like a lot. Sift the flour into the mixer, along with the almond meal, and mix to combine. Add the white wine poaching liquor.

Pour into a greased and floured 9” springform tin. Arrange the pear slices, alternating red with white. Pour over the red wine poaching syrup.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin, then remove. Serve with icing sugar and sour cream.

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