Wow, it has been free-eezing this week! I think winter is officially here now. The 2°C mornings have definitely been a struggle on the getting-out-of-bed front. But I’ve been really enjoying delicious hearty dinners, my favourite winter produce and cup after cup of nice hot tea.
I fell in love with Karen’s post about the gorgeous French Earl Grey poached pears. Not only were they so cute and tiny, but I am a big fan of this beautiful, fragrant tea so I could imagine how lovely they were going to taste! Enveloped in a delicious sour cream enriched cake batter and topped with a crunchy hazelnut crumble, this was an absolutely beautiful cake.
In fact, we liked it so much that I made a batch of muffins from the same recipe the very next day. And both were gone by Tuesday! It’s a great, simple recipe, but the thing I like most about this cake is that it’s the perfect starting point for almost any kind of fruit filling. Rhubarb would be totally delicious, as would apples, berries, or quinces as in the original recipe. So if you’re planning some long weekend baking, give this recipe a try!
Pear and Earl Grey Crumble Cake
French Earl Grey Poached Pears – Recipe adapted from Citrus & Candy
• 1L water
• 125g caster sugar
• 20g French Earl Grey tea leaves
• 1 strip orange peel
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 6 pears
Combine the water, sugar, tea leaves, orange peel and vanilla extract in a pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes to infuse. In the meantime, peel and core the pears and cut into 3mm cubes. Strain the tea mixture into another small pot and add the pears to the poaching liquid. Bring back to a boil then reduce the heat again and simmer pears gently for about 10 minutes. Pears are ready when a skewer pierces through the flesh easily. Remove from the heat and leave the pears to cool down in the syrup. Once cooled, store in the fridge.
Crumble Cake – Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
• 150g softened butter
• 135g caster sugar
• 120g brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 300g crème fraiche or sour cream
• 170g self-raising flour
• 150g plain flour
• 1 teaspoon finely grated cinnamon
• 85g brown sugar
• 60g roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
• 35g butter, coarsely chopped
• 30g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Beat butter and sugars in an electric mixer until pale (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add crème fraiche and beat to just combine, then stir through flours and cinnamon.
Spoon half the mixture into a buttered and floured 24cm diameter springform tin lined with baking paper. Scatter pears over and then pour over remaining batter and smooth the top.
For the crumble topping, combine ingredients and a pinch of salt in a bowl and rub with fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over batter. Bake cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the center withdraws clean (50 minutes-1 hour). Cool slightly in tin. Remove cake and cool to room temperature. Serve drizzled with pear syrup.