Notes: this is a great way to use hard pears if you have a
pear tree and need to start dealing with the crop early; simply
poach the pears for longer (e.g. 30 minutes). Peeling and
grating ginger can be a hassle but remember you're not actually
eating the ginger so don't be too fussy when peeling and you can
try using a food processor instead of a grater. This cake
could be served with cream or ice cream.
4 pears, peeled
For poaching the pears:
300 gm ginger, peeled and grated
1 vanilla pod
200 gm caster sugar
350 ml water
For the caramel:
150 gm caster sugar
100 ml water
20 gm butter
For the cake mixture:
200 gm butter
200 gm caster suger
200 gm ground almonds
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds.
Put the vanilla pod, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the
grated ginger into a pan with the caster sugar and water;
bring to the boil then simmer for a few minutes.
Place the pears into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes or
until tender, making sure to turn them so that all sides are
exposed to the hot juices.
Remove the poached pears and set aside to cool.
Cut a circle of greaseproof paper to line the base of a 25
cm cake tin (i.e. with sprung sides).
Grease the side of the cake tin.
Start making the caramel by boiling the caster sugar and
water in a pan on max heat until it begins to turn golden
brown; try to leave the mixture alone, it will only turn brown
at the very end.
Stir the butter into the mixture in the pan.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and ensure that it
covers the base evenly.
Take each pear and cut into quarters length-ways, then use
a sharp knife to remove the semi-circle of hard, seedy core
from each segment.
Slice each pear quarter into three length-ways and arrange
all the slices of all the pears in the caramel in a nice
Start making the cake mixture by beating the butter and
Add the eggs to the mixture, beating between each one.
Stir the ground almonds into the mixture.
Pour the mixture over the pears and caramel, doing it
carefully so as not to disturb your elegant pattern of pears.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until firm to the touch;
you will find that it needs to be quite brown before it is
firm, but that's OK as this will be the bottom of the cake.
Leave to cool for a little while then turn the cake
upside-down on a plate to serve.