On a recent trip to our local Harris Farms Market I came across the smallest Pears I have ever seen! So small I had to photograph them with their slightly bigger relative to give you an idea of their shrunken size. Having never seen pears so petite, I just couldn't resist baking something with them. And as I wanted the pear to be the feature ingredient there didn't seem much point in chopping it up and loosing the allure of its size. So poaching seemed the key!
If you cannot find Paradise Pears, then you could just use a segment of a larger pear, or an alternative fruit of your choice.
Recipe makes 10 mini bundt cakes - Double the recipe for a full size bundt tin.
Almond Cake Batter
- 125g unsalted butter
- 220g castor sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 125 ml milk
- 1 tbsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g self raising flour
- 30g ground almonds
- pinch of salt
- Pear Syrup *see recipe below
- Grease your bundt tins. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.
- Sift together the ground almonds and flour.
- In a separate bowl cream together the butter, sugar, salt and almond and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy.
- Add the beaten eggs to the creamed mixture a little bit at a time until fully incorporated.
- Alternate folding in the flour mixture and milk. Starting and ending with the flour.
- Pour mixture into bundt tins and bake on the middle shelf for approximately 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Brush with Pear Syrup straight from the oven. Leave to cool before de-molding from the tins.
Poached Pears & Syrup
- 10 Paradise Pears, peeled
- 300g castor sugar
- 300 ml water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- In a saucepan bring all the ingredients (except the pears) to the boil. Ensure that the sugar has fully dissolved and then slide in the pears. You want to ensure that all the pears are covered to prevent discolouration. I always cut a circle of parchment paper to fit neatly inside the pan. This should rest just on top of the water and have a smaller circle cut out of the centre to let the steam out.
- Gently simmer the pears for about 20 minutes or until they are tender.
- Remove the pears but keep the syrup on the heat and reduce till thickened.
- Leave everything to cool.
- Handful of chopped almonds, lightly roasted.
- Spoonful of apricot jam or clear honey
- If you fancy, use some of the remaining 'pear' syrup to brush over the cakes. This will make them extra moist and tasty. Loosen the jam with a spoonful of boiling water and brush over the tops of the cakes. Sprinkle on the nuts, the jam will help them to stick.
- Just before serving, place a poached pear on the top.