DESSERT OF THE MONTH
A flavour-packed combination of honey and spices complements the sweet taste of sugar pears in this melt-in-your-mouth dessert.
Honey, spices and sugar pears come together to make this delectable cake
INGREDIENTS SERVES 12
3 small firm sugar pears ½ cup honey 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice or water 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened ½ cup brown sugar 3 large eggs 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ tsp ground ginger 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ground cardamom (optional) ⅓ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt Greek yogurt or crème fraîche, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside.
Halve, core and stem the pears, leaving the skin on. Quarter the halved pears lengthwise, then, leaving the slices attached at the top, slice each quarter into 1/8- inch-thick wedges.
Add the honey, orange juice and vanilla bean ( pod and seeds) to a large skillet set over low heat. Fan out the pears and place in the skillet. Cook gently, occasionally spooning the honey mixture overtop, until the pears are just soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the pears to a plate to cool slightly. Discard the vanilla pod. Increase the heat to medium-high. Boil the honey mixture until reduced to a syrup, about 1 minute; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the yogurt (the batter will be quite thick). Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Press the pears gently into the batter, fanning out the slices in a decorative pattern. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
Let cool for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cake from the pan and place on a plate. Brush the top with the reserved syrup and serve with a generous dollop of yogurt or crème fraîche, if desired.