It’s Autumn! I always love this time of year, the cooling weather, the beautiful Autumn produce and the shortening days. Pears are in season now, here’s one way to use them up.
Prep and cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
3 ripe Williams or Packham pears
½ cup walnut halves
1 cup caster sugar
50g butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 cups self raising flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180*C.
Halve the pears, leaving the skin on. Using a small knife cut out the core.
Place the caster sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally with a silicone or metal spoon until it melts. It will start to turn golden – keep a close eye and stir carefully occasionally. It needs to become quite a dark caramel colour. (This process will take around 5 minutes, depending on the surface area of your saucepan.) Turn off the heat and add the butter. Be careful, as the caramel with froth up. Pour the caramel into an ungreased, unlined 22cm cake tin. Place a walnut half where the core was removed from each pear, and arrange the pears cut-side down in the caramel. Place the rest of the walnuts in the middle of the cake and in between the gaps in the pears.
For the gingerbread batter, cream butter and brown sugar with electric hand mixers. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the milk and golden syrup. Add gradually to the butter mixture, beating to combine.
Sift together the flour, ginger and cinnamon. Gently fold into the wet ingredients.
Pour the batter carefully over the pears and spread to level. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes or until the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin and springs back when touched in the middle. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.
After about 10 minutes’ cooling time, place a plate on top of the cake tin and carefully turn upside down. The cake will drop to the plate. Lift the cake tin off the top. Serve with double thick cream.