Sticky Toffee Pear and Ginger Cake

How wonderful! Windfall of Bartlett pears 🙂

 

It’s Autumn, and finally the temperature in Melbourne has dropped a little!

I was lucky enough to receive a windfall of Barlett pears from my neighbour, however I noticed that the markets are full of these pears at $1 a kilo, so it was obviously a bumper year for them this year!

I’ve had my eye on this flavour combination for a while and had a couple of ideas that I wanted to throw together.  Hope you enjoy it!

To see the video of this yumminess being put together Youtube Sticky toffee pear and ginger cake

Make this indulgent dessert for sweet-tooths, on the day  and dish it up warm, with double cream or good quality vanilla bean ice cream.

Deliciously indulgent. Sticky toffee, pear and ginger cake.

Sticky Toffee Pear and Ginger Cake

For top and sauce

120g butter

160g brown sugar

3 medium firm pears

handful of naked/ glace ginger roughly chopped

For cake

2 cups dried dates

2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda

100g softened butter

150g brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 tspn vanilla paste

195g self raising flour

 

Method top and sauce

Place butter and brown sugar into a small pan.  Place over medium heat and stir until smooth.

Pour into an 8 or 9 inch cake pan (or 3 x 5 inch pans,  2 x 6 inch pans)

Peel and slice pears.  Place them in a fan pattern into the sauce to cover the base of the pan.

Chop ginger coarsely and sprinkle evenly over the pears.

Method cake

Preheat oven to 175C

Roughly chop dates and place in a bowl.   Pour over boiling water and then add bicarbonate of soda.  Mix together and leave for 5 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Use a food processor, hand held blender, or hand beater to whizz the date mixture until it is smooother but still a little chunky.

Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.

Add 1/2 date mixture and beat until just combined.  

Repeat with flour and then the date mixture.

Add the last of the flour and beat until just combined.  A light touch with the mixing will ensure your cake is nice and soft!

Spoon cake batter gently over the pears.

Bake 8 inch pan for 50-60 min at 175C or until skewer comes out clean when tested.

(Bake 5 or 6 inch tins for about 40-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when tested.)

Cool in tin.

Invert onto a plate to serve while it is still warm and serve with double cream or good quality vanilla ice cream mmmmmmm.  Enjoy!

What more do you need? Maybe just a cup of tea? ;P

 

 

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Toffee ‘anything’ is Bliss

NO!!!! Before you say “YUCK”, and stop reading I must plead with you to persevere, please???

Seriously, put ‘toffee’ in front of almost any food and it sounds amazing! Ok, maybe not calamari…

Walnuts.

I know, I know, you and I both immediately think, “Oh no, bitter, slightly soft, stale, and just all round gross.” Am I right? But, please, please, please stay with me, if only out of loyalty to the Australian farmers out there who grow this much maligned nut, that is usually reserved for dodgy, Christmas gift baskets. Believe it or not, I have also discovered that there is some scientific evidence to suggest that walnuts may also help to improve efficiency of fat and carbohydrate break down within the body so that must be one more reason to keep reading 🙂

“How could I possibly change your mind”, you ask? Bliss-ing up simple foods and recipes doesn’t need to be difficult. Just add toffee! Who doesn’t love toffee? Put the word toffee in front of almost anything and it becomes an absolutely irresistable treat. Put toffee in with some walnuts and the flavours meld and mature into something worlds away from the nasty, stale, bits that stay in the nut bowl during the holiday season.

I just happened to be in Woolworths today and picked up a tub of Macro walnuts. They were crying out to be bought and eaten, but if you can get fresh picked or have a tree, even better!

The flavour of a good walnut is already fresher and lighter than anything that may jump out of the murky depths of your childhood food memories, and the very slight bitterness that you notice at the very end is, in fact the perfect foil for a good toffee. In fact, once toffeed, the humble walnut, takes on a warmth and depth that actually tastes so much richer than the product that you first started with. Eating even just one, immediately evokes visions of open fires and lovely big glasses of red wine.

So here we go! Although nut season is Autumn (think squirrels!), I see lots of shelled nuts readily available at markets now. I guess it takes time for them to be picked, shelled, dried and then get onto the shelf! I challenge you to pop out and buy some lovely organic walnuts, and make this really simple, low-cost recipe.

Tell me if it doesn’t change your mind about walnuts?

Toffee Walnuts

150g shelled walnuts

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons water

A non stick chefs pan is perfect for this recipe but any sauce pan will do.

Keep boiling until you get your toffee nice and dark. That’s when it’s at its most tasty!

Place sugar and water into pan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat and boil sugar for about 5 minutes or until sugar becomes dark caramel colour.

Decrease flame to low and throw in walnuts. Stir until all the nuts are coated.

Pour out onto a buttered (optional), non stick pan and cool.

Pour the toffee walnuts onto a non stick tray. For a little extra smoothness, butter the tray first

(Immediately soak cooking pot in water for easy clean up.)

Once tray is cool, put into the fridge until toffee is hard.

Break apart into pieces and eat as is, or serve as a garnish on desserts.

Transformed from scary and shunned to an irresistable treat. Shiny, rich and flavourful. Yum, toffee walnuts 🙂