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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Poached Pear Cake

I'm an avid fan for trying things out in the kitchen, and one of the things that I actually have not before was to poach a pear (can you believe that) and to play with sugar.

A couple of minutes of research and I found a recipe for a cake with poached pear, decorated with spun sugar - jackpot!

The basic components of the cake were a cake base, poached pears and spun sugar. Once you put all these things together, it would create one of the best cakes ever.

Inspired by the Poached Pear Halo Cake from The Home Guide to Cake Decorating by Jane Price.

For the poached pear :
5-6 beurre bosc pears (depending on how big or small they are)
1 liter water
peel and juice of 1 small lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 1/2 cups caster sugar

Combine all ingredients except the pears in a pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer.

Meanwhile peel the pears, leaving the stem intact, and slice a piece off the bottom so that it stands upright. Using a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from the underside.



Poach the pears in liquid for around 10 minutes or until you can poke it with a no need to fully at this stage as will be baked later. Turn heat off and let cool in the poaching liquid.


After around 5min (or until just soft enough that it can poked by a fork), drain and set aside. (no need to fully cook them at this stage since they will be baked later.)


For the cake
200g softened butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
4 whole eggs
100g self raising flour
100g all purpose flour
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp orange marmalade
½ cup lightly toasted roughly chopped

You would need an 18cm springform cake tin. Line bottom sides greaseproof paper.
Pre-heat oven to 150C. Sift flours together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, ensuring that it has been well incorporated before adding another. Add vanilla extract and mix.


manual labor - in the absence of a hand mixer I manually creamed the butter and sugar and didn't bother changing my weapon to a whisk afterwards. hehe.


Fold flours, stir, add milk and mix until batter is smooth. Pour into the cake tin. Take the pears and gently push each pear around until reaches the bottom of the tin.




Bake for around 90 minutes or until a skewer poked in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, heat marmalade until it looks slightly watery. Spread on top of the cake and sprinkle with almonds.



For the spun sugar :


Spun sugar is basically sugar boiled to hard crack temperature (146-154C). A bit messy to make but it does provide an extra wow factor into the cake, as well as extra sweet crunchiness. A step by step procedure is found here

I had fun making this :) I used oiled wooden spoons to catch the threads.



sweet cobwebs


A detailed procedure on how to make spun sugar here

To assemble, take some spun sugar and arrange it around the edges of the cake


...and some in the middle, if you want!

The result is a moist, light cake, not too sweet, with hints of crunchiness from the nuts and the spun sugar.



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