Friday, January 11, 2013
Pear Almond Cake
by Sheila Connolly
So here's my version of the Union Hall Coffee Shop Pear Almond Cake:
1/2 cup butter (room temperatureBsoft)
Peel and dice the pears. In a bowl, toss them with the lemon juice to keep them from discoloring. When all are chopped, place them in a small saucepan, along with the lemon juice, and add the sugar and butter. Simmer gently until the pears are soft but not mushy. Drain.
In a stand mixer, combine the soft butter and sugar and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs and continue beating. Add the almond extract and vanilla.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Note: some recipes call for ground almonds, but this would change the texture of the cake significantly. But feel free to experiment!
Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and mix until blended (do not overmix). Pour into the prepared cake pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I'll admit that this is a work in progress. My cake still isn't as light at the Irish version—but it tastes great!
Oh, no! I'm going to run out of Irish recipes! But not quite yet. This one is my interpretation of a lovely cake I had in a small café in Union Hall, population 192 as of the last census.
The place is run by two or three young women, and is open only for lunch and tea. When I was there, there was only one other customer, an older woman who the owners greeted by name. They asked about her recent trip to visit relatives, and we ended up chatting as well (something that happens all the time in Ireland). The woman asked for a piece of pear almond cake, and after seeing it, I ordered some as well.
I've had a go-to recipe for almond cake ever since I clipped it from a newspaper a few decades ago, and I love it. But the Irish cake was lighter—no almond paste. And of course I've got lots of apple cake recipes. But this cake was different—subtler. I even asked the baker whether she cooked the pears before adding them to the batter and she said yes—she poaches them lightly. (I knew it!)
1½ cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 ripe pears, peeled and cut into half-inch chunks
Juice of one lemon
2 Tblsp sugar
1 Tblsp butter
Butter and flour a 9" round springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Posted by Sheila Connolly at 12:15 AM