For this week’s WHB which Anh of Food Lover’s Journey is hosting, I thought of making something with lemon verbena. There is a thriving pot of the herb on the balcony that hasn’t truly been utilised yet. But somehow when I went to the grocery store for inspiration, I ended up with a selection of pears instead. Being Autumn, it seems quite appropriate to be making something pear related. The William and Beurre Bosc pears are my favourites to use when baking.. or snacking. B’s mom always has a few Beurre Bosc pears in a fruit basket in her kitchen. I love them when they are still crisp, but they’re also great when very ripe and you can sink your teeth into them like you would a peach. The Red D’Anjou on the other hand is a bit of a poser. It has a gorgeous deep red coloured skin, and is just as juicy, but doesn’t quite have the depth of flavour as say, the William pear.
These pears, being quite ripe, were diced and scattered on top of a buttery cake batter, which was then topped with almond meal and a cinnamon butter coating, then baked. Sounds utterly butterly, I know, but it really doesn’t taste like it’s all that bad for you! This recipe is an adaptation of one by chef Daniel Alps. He recommends having the cake warm, with custard or whipped cream… that is, if you can wait that long for the cakes to cool down to ‘warm’, before attacking one with a fork 🙂
Mini Pear and Cinnamon Cakes :
275g + 65g unsalted butter, softened
250g + 50g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
200g plain flour, sifted
5 eggs, at room temperature
2-3 small pears, peeled, cored, cut into large dice
80g almond meal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Grease and line the bases of a 12-hole muffin tray. Preheat the oven to 180’C.
Beat together 275g butter and 250g of the sugar until pale and creamy. Add 3 of the eggs one by one, beating well to combine. Fold in the flour and then stir in the milk to achieve a smooth batter. Spoon the batter into the muffin tray, and top with the pear pieces. Sprinkle the almond meal on top of this.
Heat the 65g butter with the remaining caster and brown sugars in a pan until the butter melts. Whisk in the 2 eggs to combine. Spread this evenly over each mini cake mixture and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cakes are cooked.