MaryJane’s Crackly Pear Cake
Every recipe posted to hotpinkapron.com has been blessed by my personal vote of confidence. Some have taken months to perfect before posting and others are remarkable from the first sift. Once and awhile I discover a recipe that really excites me to share; one that meets all criteria in taste, simplicity, interest and it showcases a local ingredient that is currently in-season. This Pear Cake is one of these recipes. I cannot wait to read all of the positive feedback that is bound to come from this cake. It’s simple to make and has a mature (pear meets almond) coffee cake taste and texture that is just perfect for tea, dessert or “just because” snacking.
The moist cake, with juicy bursts of pear fruit, is perfectly sandwiched between the buttery crunch of the bottom layer and the crisp meringue on the top. I last made this cake for a dinner with my mom when we were visiting the cottage last week. Working in a kitchen with only the bare essentials, the cake turned out so good that my mother, the woman who claims not to like “sweet stuff” ate the entire cake. That’s right, ladies of the Haliburton Veterinary Clinic, I gave mom a cake to share with you all and she ate it! Not to worry though, Bartlett Pears are in season until the end of October in Ontario and Bosc Pears all the way through December and I’ll certainly be making this one many more times.
This original recipe is from an American organic farmer in Idaho, named MaryJane Butters, and published in Where Women Cook spring 2011 edition. If you’re tired of Martha Stewart’s creepy corporate smile and Rachel Ray’s constant self-made abbreviations, try Where Women Cook – The Heart & Soul of Cooking magazine. You can find it in the Food/Cooking section of most major magazine vendors and I highly recommend it for the seasonal food recipes and genuine celebration of female chefs, farmers, writers and food lovers alike.
Enjoy your Pear Cake! xo
MaryJane’s Crackly Pear Cake
Published by Where Women Cook spring 2011
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into small pieces
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- Zest of 1 large lemon (1 Tbsp.)
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 2 cups pears (peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
- 1 large egg white
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Using a pastry blender or fork, blend 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, and salt until crumbly. Press 1 cup mixture over bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the springform pan.
Whisk together milk, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and almond. Stir remaining crumb mixture into milk mixture until blended (will still be lumpy). Fold in pears. Pour into springform pan.
Beat egg white with electric mixer on medium to high speed until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Spread over batter.
Bake in a 350° oven 65 minutes. Cool 30 minutes on a wire rack. Remove sides of springform pan; finish cooling. Makes one 9-inch cake (12 servings).
*Note: Don’t fret over the dark brown colour of the meringue, this is good. Be sure to check that the centre of the cake is cooked by sliding a toothpick out clean before removing from oven.
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