Jane Grigson's Fruit Book (At Table) and she collected the recipe in France.
Youngest was looking for something new to bake and since my sister-in-law had just harvested an abundance of pears from her tree, all of which were begging to be used up quickly, I turned to the pear section of the book. Two recipes for pear cakes sat side-by-side, both French, both very similar. Youngest chose this one because the pears were mixed into the batter rather than placed on top.
There is no creaming or rubbing in. The dry ingredients are stirred together, the butter melted and mixed in along with the eggs, then the pears and lemon juice folded in and that’s it. Perfect for a child just beginning to bake all by herself.
It’s not the lightest of sponges, perhaps best served warm with cream as a dessert, but the pears are cooked in it to meltingly soft perfection, the lemon juice adding just enough spritz, and the cake disappeared very rapidly both warm and cold the next day.
Jane Grigson’s Anjou Pear Cake Recipe
500g / 1lb firm ripe pears (we used one that was still very crunchy and it turned out still crunchy in the cake!)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
75g / 1/3 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs
60g / 2oz / ¼ cup melted butter
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to180C / 350F
Prepare a greased and lined 20cm/8inch cake tin.
Squeeze the lemon into a bowl.
Peel, core and chop the pears into chunks, then turn them in the lemon juice to keep them from going brown.
Stir together the dry ingredients.
Beat the eggs then add to the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter and the water.
At this stage the mixture will still feel rather thick and lumpy.
Add the pears with all the lemon juice and it should adjust to the right soft consistency.
Pour the mixture into the lined tin, level it off and bake for about an hour until a skewer comes out clean.
The cake can be glazed with an apricot jam glaze, but we ate it just as it was.