I’m liking pears at the moment. I don’t know why, but pears have a groove that I’m in tune with. My inner break dancer is spinning on its head to the beat of the pear. And also I’m making up terrible, terrible metaphors. Somebody please stop me. Anyway, I had some pear cider the other day. It’s good – you should have some. Mac’s Issac Pear Cider. I think. Unless of course, you go to the supermarket and such a product does not exist, then I certainly didn’t give you that name at all and stop imagining things, okay? So I figured, lets continue with the pear theme. It worked last time, with the alcohol. Except that it gave you a headache, but that’s mostly because you’re a light weight. Oh my god. Enough rambling!
I made a spiced pear cake with homemade caramel sauce. There, I said it. You actually know what this post is about, rather than some vague ramblings about pears and headaches. Why did I make this? Why yes, I had a specific purpose and wasn’t just feeling the urge to trash the kitchen. The parental units and I were going to my godparents for dinner, as their son has recently returned from Korea. I was volunteered to make dessert. Which is fine, you may have guessed that I like doing such things.
I would like to make a disclaimer, so that certain friends and fellow bakers don’t kill me, use freshly ground cardamom and nutmeg if you can. Don’t be lazy like I was.
Spiced Pear Cake
4 medium pears, peeled and diced
¼ c sugar
1/8 c water
Juice of half a lemon
125 g butter
½ c white sugar
½ c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ c sour cream
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ c flour
1. Attack the pears. Or alternatively, peel and dice them.
2. Biff them in a pot with the lemon juice, sugar and water. Give them a quick stir and then pop the lid of the pot on and cook them down on a medium heat for about twenty minutes, or until they are soft to touch.
3.Take them off the heat and cool. While that’s happening, make the cake mix!
4. It starts out pretty typically; cream the butter and the two sugars together until they are light and fluffy. My mixer never does this particularly well as the bell whisk doesn’t reach don far enough into the bowl.
5. Add the vanilla and crack in the eggs one at a time. Once things are all combined, set a timer for four minutes and let them beat on a medium speed. They’ll end up all.... fluffy like. Sort of. You’ll definitely notice a difference in texture.
6. Mix in the sour cream, which will make the butter, sugar and egg mix a bit smoother and runnier, which is useful ‘cos next comes the dry stuff.
7. I kinda gave this step away; add the dry stuff in (spices, leavening agents, flour) and mix until just combined.
8. Now return to your somewhat cooled pear ... stuff and blend the hell out of it! It should end up like a thick saucy like thing.
9. Dump the pear stuff into the cake mixture and mix it through briefly. No over mixing!
10. Into a pan – I used a bundt pan – and into the oven on 160 degrees Celsius. It’s ready when you stab with a skewer and it comes out clean. The cake is dense-ish though, because of the fruit in there, so it will have a moist crumb.
1 c brown sugar
½ c butter
¼ c evaporated milk
1. Dump it all into a small saucepan!
2. Slowly heat it up to a rolling boil, and once it is there, let it boil for two minutes. You have to stay stirring the whole time, otherwise it’ll stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. And nobody ever wants to smell burnt sugar. Ew.
3. Tada! Done. Pour it into a jug and then over the cake. You can make this quite a while in advance and just warm it up in the microwave for 20 seconds before serving – it needs to be warm so that it pours easily.
God, it’s been a while. In fact, so long that people have been stabbing me in an effort to motivate me to update. Figuratively, mind you. But it makes my writers soul bleed! The soul that I so desperately wanted to exist when I was a teenager, and am not so sure really does, these days. I thought I would write the most inspiring prose... the most innovative stories... Whoa, okay. Tangent, anyone? I’m sorry about that – but tangents are great fun. I like to tangent...alise? Tangentify? Tangentilate? Personally, I like that third one the most. It’s kind of titillating and serious at the same time. ... And yes, I do realise I just went off on a tangent about tangents.
Staying on topic! I do actually have recipes to update with. Just actually doing the updating bit is the hard part. The uploading and resizing of pictures, the hunting and organising of my haphazard thoughts, and then collating them in some manner that is understandable. These are seriously difficult things, people. I think I might take a nap, in fact.
But actually, you really do need to know about these peanut butter, chocolate and oat cookies. Oats you say? Why are these healthy things in my cookies? Usually this is my opinion too. If I’m eating cookies, I’m not going to muck around adding things like oats to make myself feel better about all the calories I’m consuming. I’m a purist. Keeper of the secrets. Traditionalist. Except when I’m not. Anyway, these cookies have oats in them, and they should stay there. They counter the sweet and salty and richness and it is good.
I made these for the first time a few weeks ago and promptly burnt the first half of the batch. So keep an eye on them, they cook quickly. My second – and tripled mix – effort was much more successful and delicious. I was visiting a friend in Auckland, and apparently even when I travel to the other end of the country, I deign it necessary to take baking with me. Even when she and the others I’m visiting don’t. It’s rather ridiculous, especially when I’m visiting very skilled bakers in their own right. I’m calling it bizarre habit. Anyway, they all liked these cookies and needed the recipe. So here it is!
120 g butter
½ c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ c creamy peanut butter
1 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ c rolled oats
1 c chocolate chips (I use milk or half white, half milk)
1. Suddenly remember you have a very expensive cake mixer you don’t use nearly enough and get it out of the cupboard. Oooh, shiny! Wipe the dust off it.
2. Cream the butter, sugars, peanut butter and vanilla until all creamy and smooth. It won’t get as fluffy as if you were just creaming butter and sugar, cos that peanut butter is in there. I find heating the jar of PB in the microwave for 20 seconds is helpful to soften it up before you measure it out. Or you could just swear at it like I did the first time. That helps too.
3. Try and remember what you did.
4. Oh! Flour, oats and the egg. And the other dry stuff. Like. Um. Oh, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix in gently so that they are incoporated, but not heavily mixed.
5. Finally fold in the chocolate! Any variety you like. The original recipe calls for dark chocolate, but I have some strange aversion to that and use milk chocolate in my cookies.
6. Scoop onto the cookie tray. I put about nine cookies onto each tray and I didn't press them down, because they flatten and spread as they cook, and again when they come out of the oven.
7. Bake carefully! They colour quite quickly - in about 8 minutes at fan bake on 180 degress celcius. Take them out when they are light brown, otherwise they get too crispy.