By the way, I think that next time I could start adding Christmas recipes - just have a look at your local store and I bet they already have Cristmas themed items. I can't help but think that is a little bit crazy, don't you think? Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I just have this feeling that it's way too soon. I mean, who'd want to eat Christmas pastries which are at least four months old? Okay, I only hava one last question - have you already started shopping for Christmas gifts? I have not. Not yet. It's too soon for me...I need to feel the real Christmas atmosphere otherwise I'm not able to buy the right gifts :D
And now let's move to the cake. When I was a 14-year-old girl, I started testing different magazine recipes - I took care to cut them out from the magazine perfectly, I baked the dish according to them and sticked the cut-outs into my "cooking" notebook. I wrote down many notes about what to change etc. However, I have never come back to try them again. A few days ago, I discovered the notebook again and found there a few recipes having 5 star rating (that means they should be super tasty :D). I was pretty surprised to discover a recipe for pear crumb cake there. My notes clearly stated which changes were necessary to make it absolutely delicious so I was like: "Give it a chance, girl!" I think I made the right decision.
In the original recipe (from the magazine) there was a ridiculously small amount of sugar in the dough which led into a tasteless cake and so huge amount of yeast that it'd be enough for three cakes! The filling contained only hazelnuts but the top of the cake was supposed to be sprinkled with almonds. I really don't know why, but in my opinion the cake should be decorated with things that are inside of the cake. I don't follow the rule strictly, but sometimes I really can't stand decorating cakes with for example coconut when the cake doesn't contain any. By the way, I think that walnuts pair better with pears than hazelnuts - at least in this cake. Well and because I wanted to sprinkle the cake with almonds, I used half walnuts (which are strongly flavoured) and half almonds (which are mild in taste and add wonderful marzipan arome) in the filling. This way the nuts weren't overpowering and didn't cover the fantastic taste of the cinnamon crumb and pears. Oh I use more pears, they make the cake perfectly moist, soft and juicy. And in case your pears are as tough as stones (just like mine were) don't worry at all - even the toughest of the toughest will soften during baking, so you don't have to parboil them or something.
Crumb, streusel, whatever you call it, it's my most favourite part on any cake, muffin etc. It must be buttery, sweet and crunchy enough, but not too dry. I always make it using this ratio - 1:1:1, which means one part butter, one part flour and one part sugar and it always turns out perfect (at least according to me :D).
My dad has been keen on cycling since his childhood and so has his brother. While I was done baking this cake, they both arrived home from one cycling event. I know my dad - as soon as he smells food, he'd eat it all :D I wish I had his metabolism, because he never gains a single pound. Well, and my uncle, he's even thinner than my dad is, but everytime we offer him food he replies: "No, thanks. I'm on a diet." So I assume that the food then disappears by itslef :D So when they arrived, I offered them the cake. You already know my uncle's reply, but guess who ate the ENTIRE serving tray (with about 20 pieces)? Here's some help: it was not my daddy. Yes, you're right. It was my I'm-on-a-diet uncle :D I wish I could lose weight the same way. Oh, and by the way, my uncle definitely doesn't need to lose weight (I think he just says so :D). Okay, enough talking, let's go baking :)
50g (2/3 cup) chopped almonds
200ml (4/5 cup) lukewarm milk
375g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
4g (1 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast (1/2 package)
80g ( 6 1/2 tbsp) granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
75g (1/3 cup) softened butter, chopped
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
150g (1 1/2 cups) ground almonds
150g (1 1/2 cups) ground walnuts
900g (approx. 8-10 pears) peeled+cored pears
100g (4/5 cup) all-purpose flour
100g (4/5 cup) powdered sugar
100g (2/5 cup) butter, cold+cut into tiny pieces
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Doguh: In a bowl, combine dry ingredients with butter, pour in milk and mix until smooth dough forms. Using your hands, knead for 5-10 minuts until elastic, smooth and soft. Form the dough into a ball, cover with tea towl and let rise for 30-60 minutes (or until doubled in size) in a warm place. Then knead again for a short time, roll out into a rectangle (30x40cm) and place into a greased and floured baking sheet (30x40cm) and make sure there are 3cm high edges to prevent the filling from sticking to the sheet.
Filling: Slice pears into 2cm thick slices. In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (about 10 minutes). Gently mix in ground almonds and walnuts.
Crumb: Using your fingertips, quickly mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Do not knead it for too long otherwise the butter softens too much and instead of crumb you get dough.
Assembly: Pour the nutty filling onto the dough and cover evenly with pear slices. Cover with tea towl and allowe to rise for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180C. Sprinkle the cake with crumb evenly, then sprinkle it with chopped almonds and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 160C and bake for another 35-45 minutes until golden. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake has to come out clean but be carefull not to dry it out too much. Let cool and serve.
- If you want, you can use homemade vanilla sugar in both filling and dough instead of plain sugar. I do it this way and the cake smells wonderful and its taste is somewhat "deeper".
- Place the pear slices very close to each other or even one over another. I always use all of them (900g) and the cake tastes fantastic!
I'd say that my uncle confirmed the edibility of the cake :D Daddy was happy, because I (as he says) finally made something normal (= Czech, classical and non-experimental; I was a bit angry with my daddy for that), but I was happy in the end, because the cake tasted pretty good :) The surface of it is beautifully crispy thanks to the chopped almonds, the crumb is exquisite in my opinion - a little bit moist from pears, lighly crunchy, cinnamony enough...I could write a whole paragraph about it :D Fortunately, the layer of the dough is thin (I don't like too thick layer of dough in this type of cakes because it's a bit drier) and only little sweet. Well and finally the filling - so juicy, moist, not too sweet with nice pear taste and strong nutty and light marzipan flavour. Pears become soft (but not mushy!) and simply the whole cake is extremely yummy :D
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
These Chicks Cooked