Gâteau Fondant Aux Poires. Doesn't that sound fancy? Okay, so it means pear cake, not nearly as exotic, huh?
When I was growing up, my mother baked a lot. While there was the occasional chocolate or mocha cake, most of her cakes involved some kind of fruit. So when I happened to run across this recipe for French Pear Cake, I was hooked immediately. It's just the kind of cake that my mom liked to bake. Once again, this isn't for the frosting people. But it has such a lovely crumb and is nicely moist thanks to the pears.
This recipe came from My Kitchen In The Rockies, and I related right away. She describes trying to get a picture before her daughter could finish the cake. When I was a kid, there was usually one little piece of cake left on Monday morning, and I always grabbed it for breakfast! That probably explains a lot about me.
Of course, my mom learned to bake in Germany, but let's face it, France is right next door. This recipe is just like the ones my mom used. A truly lovely cake. The good news is that it's an easy cake to make. Just be sure that the butter and eggs are room temperature. And don't overbeat the dough. I changed the measurements just a little bit, but not much.
French Pear Cake
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
sweetened whipped cream (optional)
Peel the pears, quarter lengthwise, and core. Slice each quarter into 3-4 long slices, and chop those into 1/3-inch bits. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 for convection or 375 for regular. Grease a 9 or 9 1/2-inch springform pan.
Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix with a fork. Set aside.
Using a paddle attachment, beat the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides as necessary. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Slowly beat in the flour, taking care not to over-mix.
The batter will be thick. Spoon half of it into the prepared pan and smooth. Pour the pears over top and spread out. Top with the remaining batter. So that you won't dislodge the pears, drop large dollops of it on the pears and then smooth the batter together.
Bake 55 - 60 minutes or until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to rest on a rack for 5 - 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then open the springform pan.
When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Serve plain or with sweetened whipped cream.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat heavy cream until it begins to take shape. Add the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until it holds a soft peak.
|Half the batter in the pan.|
|Top with pears.|
|Spoon on the rest of the batter.|
|Smooth together and bake!|