The recipe for this cake with pears and dates is from Tuttacronaca, an Italian blogger who has unfortunately stopped blogging. It has some similarities to the sticky date pudding I posted recently, as it also has dates, caramel, and cognac. The addition of pears freshens up the dessert, and leaving out the caramel sauce also makes it lighter.
The pears go on top as well as in the cake, together with the dates. The cake tin is lined with caramel for some additional flavor. That is the only tricky part of the recipe, as caramels are always difficult to work with.
For a 24 cm (10″) cake
180 grams (1 cup) pitted dates
200 grams (1 1/3 cup) cake flour
8 grams (1 1/2 tsp) of baking powder
80 ml (1/3 cup) cognac
100 grams (7 Tbsp) butter, melted and cooled
100 grams (1/2 cup) cane sugar
4 ripe but firm pears
75 grams (generous 1/3 cup) sugar
Chop the dates and put them in a bowl. Peal and core 2 pears and cut into chunks, add to the same bowl. Add 80 ml (1/3 cup) of cognac, stir, and allow to macerate for half an hour while you make the batter.
Stir once in a while.
Combine 100 grams of melted butter with 100 grams of cane sugar in a bowl.
Whisk to mix.
Add the first egg.
Whisk to incorporate. Add the 2nd and 3rd egg after the previous egg has been incorporated.
Add 200 grams of sifted flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon until there are no more lumps.
After the fruit has macerated for at least half an hour, add it to the batter, including all the liquid from the bowl.
Stir to incorporate. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Put a 24 cm (10″) springform pan in the oven to preheat the pan as well.
To make the caramel, put 75 grams of sugar in a saucepan with just enough water to let it dissolve.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
It will take a while to go from white to amber, but it will go very quickly from amber to brown to black. You don’t want it to go black!
Once the caramel starts to change color, you have to work quickly. Get the preheated pan out of the oven.
Once the caramel is brown…
…pour it at once in the preheated pan.
Tilt the pan to coat the bottom and the sides with the caramel. I wasn’t quick enough, so I didn’t do a very good job. That’s what you get for trying to photograph everything as well!
Add the batter to the pan, and flatten the top.
Bake at 180C/350F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Turn the cake over on a serving dish, so that the side with the caramel is on top.
Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar. Peel and core the remaining two pears, and slice them. Rub lemon juice on the slices to prevent them from discoloring. Arrange the pear slices on top of the cake.
This is nice with a moscato passito from Italy or a moscatel from Spain.
Risotto al barolo con salsiccia is a risotto with great depth of flavor thanks to the winning combination of red wine and Italian pork sausage.