When the Wintry weather rolls in, I try to use what’s in the pantry as much as I can rather than driving the 10 minutes to our nearest shops in Clonakilty. Tins of fruit are a great storecupboard standby, perfect for tarts, crumbles and cake.
I always have pears, pineapples, prunes and peaches with the occasional tin of cherries when I can find them. Buy the fruit in natural juice rather than syrup, the latter can be just too sweet.
The pears in today’s recipe are in natural juice which I strained into a small pot, adding in a tablespoon of caster sugar and three crushed cardamon pods. Bubble away until it thickens into a tasty syrup for drizzling over the finished cake. If you don’t like cardamon, you could add some orange zest or a splash of Cointreau to the juice to make a citrussy syrup instead.
1 tin pears in natural juice
300g good quality dark chocolate, min 64% cocoa content
250g butter, chopped
4 large free range eggs, separated
100g caster sugar (plus extra for the syrup)
200g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170C Reg/ 160C fan/ Gas Mark 3.
Lightly butter a 25cm springform cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.
1. Melt the chocolate & butter together in a bowl over a simmering pot of water. Stir until smooth and completely melted then remove from heat and leave to side.
2. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
3. In a third bowl, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until they become pale, light and creamy. Use a metal spoon to gently fold in the almonds and vanilla extract.
4. Add a spoonful of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then gradually and gently add in the remaining egg whites. Fold until carefully combined (see image below).
5. Gently tip in the melted chocolate mix and again fold until everything is combined. Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
6. Cut the pears into quarters and place on top of the mix.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes then remove to a wire rack. The cake should come away from the sides of the tin then run a palette knife around to loosen. Remove the sides of the tin then leave cake to cool before brushing with the top with the syrup.
8. This cake can be eaten warm or cold, topped with a little whipped cream.