Simple Pear Cake

Say that a kind friend has sent you 2 pounds of Fruit-of-the-Month Club pears as a thank-you gift. Say that your harried building manager forgets to tell you that these pears are sitting in the office waiting for you to pick them up for 2 weeks, so that when you do finally get your hands on the pears, they are THISCLOSE to being overripe.

What do you do? You make a quick and easy pear cake.

Ingredients

2 pounds pears
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons of butter, chopped into small pieces

Extra butter and flour for the pan

1 Springform pan

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter the inside of the pan thoroughly, then sprinkle flour to cover the bottom of the pan. Shake the pan until you’ve lightly coated the entire bottom. Turn over and tap to remove excess flour.

Peel the pears and cut them in half (top to bottom, not side to side). Use a spoon to remove the seeds and the stringy bits of core. Slice the pears into thin slices. Set aside for a moment.

Beat milk and eggs together in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt, continue beating. Slowly add the flour, and continue beating until everything is mixed thoroughly and there are no lumps. Add the sliced pears, vanilla, lemon juice, and cinnamon to the mixing bowl, and stir gently until they are well integrated into the batter.

Pour the batter into the pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Sprinkle the top with the bits of chopped butter. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

When the time is up, remove from the oven and cool until it’s warm but not hot to the touch. Open the springform and transfer the cake to a serving plate.

Notes

  • Taste your pears when slicing them. You may want to adjust the amount of cinnamon and lemon juice depending on the sweetness and flavor of the pears.

Amazing Apple Pie

This is Scott’s amazing apple pie recipe, presented without much comment. It’s not hard to make and tastes fantastic. If you absolutely must, you can buy the crust pre-made, but it really does taste better when homemade.

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 lb butter
2 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

6 Granny Smith apples
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 lb butter
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour

Preparation

First, make the crust. Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the mixer until the ingredients are just starting to form a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. On a floured surface, split the dough in half and roll each sheet to 1/8 inch thickness. Place one sheet in a 9” pie tin and cut the excess from the edge of the tin. Reserve the second sheet for the top.

Next, the filling. Peel, core and dice the apples. Place them in a large saucepan. Cut up the butter and add all ingredients except flour to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour off excess liquid and save for the glaze.

Finally, assembly & baking. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss the apple filling with the flour and put it all in the pie tin, cover with the second sheet of dough, seal with a fork, and cut vent holes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and glaze the crust with the reserved filling liquid 3 times.


Easy Summer Fruit Torte

One of Mom’s recipes and an awesome dessert. It’s easy to make, tastes great, and is not so rich that you’ll feel insanely guilty eating it.

Ingredients:

Cake Base:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2 eggs

Topping:
12 small ripe purple plums, halved and pitted
OR 12 small ripe apricots, halved and pitted
OR 1 to 1/12 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries are best)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9″ springform pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together (if you don’t know how, here’s a helpful link).

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift into a bowl, then add them, as well as the eggs, to the butter and sugar. Mix well but do not overwork the dough. Pour into the pan and smooth out the batter with a spatula to make sure it’s evenly distributed.

Add the fruit. If you’re using apricots, plums or strawberries, place the fruit halves skin side up so that the juices run down into the cake as it cooks. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries don’t have sides so just sprinkle them on. Tap gently on the fruit pieces to settle them into the batter, but not so firmly that they’re completely covered.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with sugar, and cinnamon and if necessary the lemon juice, adjusting the amount of each depending on the type and tartness of the fruit.

Bake for 1 hour.

Notes & Substitutions:

  • This cake is best served warm.
  • Can be baked in advance, frozen, and reheated.
  • If you don’t have a springform pan, a 9″ cake or pie round will also work. Grease the pan heavily and/or line with parchment paper for easier removal.