Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Poached pears, almond brittle & salted caramel


I do love this time of year the nights are drawing in, the clocks have changed which I have to say is not so simple with two little kiddies and the forced 5am start pretty draining.  However with so many  festivities to look forward to and the build up to Christmas, I really do love getting cosy in the winter.  I mean what's not to love... hearty stews, mulled wine, lazy Sunday roasts, twinkling lights and soft woolly things... 

I'm also always torn with what to blog about as readers in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for summer.  So as I sit here with a glass of Baileys on ice (don't mind if I do) all my friends and family in South Africa are gathering for BBQ's and salads.  With this in mind I plan to recap a few of my favourite recipes I discovered this summer so do look out for them in future posts, there are some real winners such as prawn and avo sushi salad and chocolate and raspberry fridge cake. 

As for this pear cake, well there is a little story behind this creation.  My initial concept was to make a delicate seasonal dessert using pears seeing as they are in abundance at the moment.  The idea was to coat the poached pears with salted caramel sauce and almond brittle.  Sounds good right.  Well, when it came to plating up the dessert the photos just didn't do it any justice and flavours just seemed a little lost.   I had  some leftover vanilla sponge cake in the freezer from my kids party which I quickly defrosted and layered with the pears, fresh cream, brittle and sauce....OMG a combination made in heaven.....



You will need:
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 100g whole almonds
Put sugar and almonds in a pan and the sugar will start to melt.  Take off the heat once all the sugar has dissolved and pour onto a lined tray with baking paper.  Allow to cool.  It will become hard and brittle.  Crush with a pestle and mortar.
Salted caramel sauce
  • 80ml water
  • 250g sugar
  • 120ml double thick cream
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • pinch of good quality sea salt
Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to boil, make sure all the sugar has dissolved.  Take off the heat, pour in the cream and whisk in the butter and salt.  If its a little runny, place it in the fridge or freezer and allow to set once cooled.
Sponge cake
  • 100g butter melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g flour
  • 1/4 + 1 1/2 Tbs milk warmed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • vanilla essence
Grease two baking tins.  Beat eggs and sugar till thick and creamy, approx. 7 mins.  Whisk in butter and milk.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Bake at 180 degrees for 30 mins. 
Poached pears
  • 3 Pears
  • cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs sugar
Peel the pears carefully leaving the stalk on.  Place in a pan and cover with boling water.  Bring to boil, add sugar and cinnamon and allow to poach for approx. 20 mins.  Take pears out, allow to cool and slice for cake.