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Monday, December 5, 2011

Festival of small projects - Day 5

Good Monday morning!

It's a bit gloomy and rainy one over here, but if I am in my sewing room with all the great colors and fabrics - it is always bright! I think only quilters would understand this...right?
I had a great weekend - Saturday spent with my girls - my daughter, my daughter-in-law and her mother, going to Buffalo Artists Holiday open studios - a wonderful event in downtown Buffalo where lost of artists of all kind open their studios and people can enjoy and purchase their creations - such fun and inspiration!
Sunday I also spent with my girls - this time my wonderful quilting buddies! - every year eight of us who started quilting together many years ago (and we also worked together), gather for a holiday pot-luck, fun and Show and share - definitely one of the highlights of my holiday season!

So, needles to say, some cooking and baking was involved this weekend and I decided that for Day 5 you can take a break from sewing and try a new recipe! Pear cake is something I first tried many years ago and it was an instant hit, quickly becoming a family favorite and holiday tradition! Here is the recipe, with some of my adaptations:

Ingredients:
     Crumbed topping and nuts layer of the cake: 
  • 1 cup broken walnuts
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pear layer:
  • 4 medium pears (about 2 cups)

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Batter:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 8 ounce carton dairy sour cream
  • Final cake topping (optional):
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds tossed with a table spoon of brown sugar (optional)
 Directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan (if you don't have a springform pan, I think any baking pan would work, it is just easier to remove the cake with a springform pan and it looks so pretty! :)  ). 
-To make the crumbed topping: Combine the 1 cup nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in one small bowl. In another small bowl cut the 1/4 cup of (cold) butter into 1/3 cup flour and mix to make coarse crumbs. Take about the half of the nut mixture and combine with these corase crumbs - this is  your crumbed topping. rest of the nut mixture is for one layer of the cake (see bellow). Set both aside for now.
- For the pear layer of the cake: Peel and core the pears and cut them into slices or cubes (I cut mine into cubes). Toss pears with lemon juice to prevent them for getting brown (and to give an extra flavor!), and set them aside. 
- To make the cake batter: In a one bowl combine the 1-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. In another (large) bowl beat 1/2 cup butter with electric mixer for about a minute, add sugar and vanilla and mix them in. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Now start adding the flour mixture and sour cream alternating between the two and mix with low speed until all is combined.
- To combine it all into a cake: spread two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the nut mixture (NOT the crumbed topping!). Layer the pears over that. Gently spread remaining batter over pears. Now sprinkle with crumbed topping. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. For additional crunch on the top (and this is optional), open the oven and sprinkle the cake with sliced almonds tossed with brown sugar. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a rack  for about 10 minutes. Remove the side of springform pan, (if you used one) and cool for at least one more hour. You can serve this cake slightly warm or when it is completely cooled, with some whipped cream - it is delicious either way!
Here is the one I made for my quilting buddies yesterday:
Another tip: If you want to make a double batch of this cake and have that set of three spring-form pans - large, medium and small one - double batch of the cake fills those three perfectly! 
This cake keeps really well, it is great as a coffee cake too and it just a bit different than all the classics! 
This is not my original recipe - I found it years ago in a magazine, tore out the page and I think it was Better Homes and Gardens (one of my favorites when it comes to recipes!). That page is well worn and spattered with cake ingredients...I better laminate it! :)
Have a great week ahead,
Marija

2 comments:

  1. I used Apples and pecans and it turned out great (put almonds on top, didn't care for them there.) Sent most of it to the office with Hunny (Didn't need it tempting me, the taste already was..lol) Thanks for posting the recipe. Today's a baking day for me. I'm making "lady fingers" and "almond lace cookies".
    http://gloriouscreations.blogspot.com/

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  2. I am new to your blog and am enjoying it very much. Will be trying your pear recipe soon with my diced pears in the freezer. Had an exceptional crop this year.

    Also wish to ask about the lovely quilt at the top of your blog. Is this your own pattern? Where can I obtain the pattern? Happy Holidays,

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