Pear and cardamom crumble cake

Pear and cardamom crumble cake

pears

When does autumn start in your book? Do you stick to the official start on the 21st of september? Or does a certain event signify the start of grey days followed cozy evenings? A lady in my dance class recently told me that she refuses to acknowledge autumn until she is back from her late september sunny holiday. When I was younger, I considered summer to be over when school started.

I love the colours of the trees this time of year. The chestnuts on the ground which promptly get picked up by my kids and put in my handbag for safekeeping. The first scarves and gloves early in the morning. A cup of tea in the evening. The smell of our old radiators as they get switched on after months of rest. My Converse being put to the back of the shoe pile because they may be stylish but they are definitely not rain and puddle proof.

Autumn always makes me crave warmth in everything I eat or drink. Cinnamon in my porridge. Ginger in my tea. Cloves in my rice. And cardamom in my baking. I just want to wrap myself in a blanket of spices at this time of year. What’s your favourite autumn moment?

Warming pear and cardamom crumble cake

Pear and cardamom crumble cake

Server 6-8

Ingredients:

60g soft butter

50g sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla sugar

75g flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp cardamom

2-3 ripe but firm pears, pealed, cored and cubed

For the topping:

30g flour

25g sugar

30 ice cold butter in cubes

3 tbsp chopped, blanched almonds

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

2. Grease and flour a baking tin about 20×26 cm

3. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the egg and beat well until completely incorporated.

5. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.

6. Pour the mixture into the tin and press it into the corners. The mixture will be thick and will spread out thin to fill the whole tin.

7. Top the mixture with the pear cubes.

8. Make the topping by using your fingers to rub the ice cold butter cubes, flour and sugar together until it forms crumbs. Then add the nuts.

9. Sprinkle the topping on top of the pears.

10. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes.

11. Let cool in the tin and cut into squares.

ENJOY!

Pear and cardamom crumble cake perfect for autumn

Pear with speculoos (Biscoff cookie) crumble

Happy 2015!

So, who has a new year’s resolution? More specifically, who has a new year’s resolution that revolves around food? I do. My new year’s resolution is to BAKE MORE 😉

I spent Christmas with my family in Belgium and brought back lots of Belgian goodies that I showed you in this post. On our last day, we went to the seaside and visited my grandmother’s childhood home. She was a marvellous woman my grandmother, and sometimes the only one who really understood me. We used to visit her and my grandfather every Sunday and she would make meatloaf and pears stewed in brown sugar. An absolutely beautiful combination.

This dish is inspired by my grandmother’s pears and by my Belgian roots. Introducing: Pear with speculoos (or biscoff cookies as they are called in some countries) crumble.

IMG_2858This is a lovely, sweet dessert that can be put together in the space of 30 minutes. Baking it takes about the same amount of time.

IMG_2808I would like to talk about brown sugar for a minute . In Belgium and in the UK where I used to live,brown sugars are available in every supermarket. In Germany, which is my current home, I struggle to find them. They come in several shades depending on the amount of molasses. They are soft and not grainy at all (unlike the brown coloured unrefined sugars which are grainy). In this recipe I have used both light and dark brown sugar which I “imported” from Belgium.

IMG_2812Making the crumble is easy and quick. Just use your hand to rub it all together and remember to use cold butter.

IMG_2846My crumble came out a little darker than I wanted. I recently bought an oven thermometer and have tried baking according to its indications… I think I need to send it back… Yours will no doubt come out nice and golden!

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Recipe for 6

6 pears

50-75g dark brown sugar (depending on how sweet your pears are)

for the crumble:

100g light brown sugar

100g plain flour

50g speculoos/biscoff cookies (or any other crunchy ginger or cinnamon cookie)

100g cold butter cut into cubes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Butter an ovenproof dish.

Peel the pears, core them and cut them into cubes.

Add the dark brown sugar and mix until all the pear cubes are coated.

Put the mixture in the ovenproof dish and set aside.

Crush the cookies by putting them in a plastic freezer bag and bashing them with a rolling pin or the back of a wooden spoon. Small chunks amongst the crumbs are OK.

In a bowl, add the cookie crumbs, the light brown sugar, flour and butter. Use your finger tips to rub it all together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Again, some bigger chunks are OK.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the pears.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the crumble is a golden brown colour.

Leave it to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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