Saturday, October 09, 2010

Brown Butter Pear Crumble Cake

Oh boy, that's a mouthful. I've mentioned before that I am not the best recipe namer on the block, and if you didn't believe me then, I suppose you do now. Instead of cleverly coming up with that all-descriptive yet succinct title that will perfectly describe a certain dish, I more often than not let myself ramble on with a name that reads like a list of ingredients. I know, there goes my career in editing.

Thankfully, I don't aspire to be an editor, and truth be told, don't know if I even aspire to be a writer either. Or am I already a writer just because I, um, write? It seems to me that one needs to reach some sort of pinnacle of writer-hood, some summit of eloquence, to be called a WRITER. Right? right?

I may check in here every so often (not as often as I'd like though...sigh). I may even string a few words together over here. But in reality I am a pencil pushing, keyboard clicking, cog in the machine. Maybe, maybe, in some alternate universe all this, this blog, this writing, this obsession with all things gastronomic, is actually my life. In this universe though, it is just my hobby. A hobby I LOVE yes, but a hobby nonetheless. And perhaps because it is just a hobby, food and writing and I will forever be on honeymoon, never to fall into the grittiness of reality. Or perhaps our relationship, never having the chance to plunge in to that very grit of the everyday, will never have anything more deep than a surface sparkle.

Or maybe I'm just a girl who thinks too much.

Or maybe I'm just a girl who loves cake...even if I can't quite get the knack of naming them :)

Brown Butter Pear Crumble Cake
(cake adapted from here and the crumble from here)

For the cake:
  • 125 grams butter
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 70 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups chopped pears
For the crumble:
  • 50 grams flour
  • 30 grams butter, chilled and cubed
  • 50 grams dark brown sugar
  • 60 grams walnuts, chopped
- Melt the butter in a skillet until browned (not burned!), with a warm nutty aroma. You can find a fantastic tutorial on browning butter over at Simply Recipes. Strain and set aside to cool.
- Make your crumble: Rub flour and butter together with your fingers, or with a pastry cutter, until it forms coarse crumbs. Mix in the sugar and nuts. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Butter a 8-inch cake pan and lay your pear cubes at the bottom of the pan.
- Mix the sugar with the egg. Whisk your flour and baking powder together, then add to the egg mixture. Add the (cooled) brown butter. Pour the batter over the pears.
- Get your crumble mixture and sprinkle over the top of the batter until fully covered. You may not use it all**.
- Bake in a 180C (350F) oven for 40-50 minutes or until a pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake rest in its pan for about 5-10 minutes. Turn out into a plate, and then turn over onto another plate so the pears are on the bottom and the crumble on top.

C's mom gifted us with a bunch of pears that sat prettily on our dining room table until I finally came around to using them. I was thinking more in the lines of pie until this recipe, and my desire to make something with brown butter, serendipitously collided. I'm so happy they did. This cake is all Clotilde promised it to be -- golden, moist, light -- and the additional step of browning the butter lends it a deep nuttiness that I think works marvelously with the pears' sandy sweetness. The crisp crumble topping is the perfect contrast to the cake's yielding softness. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or straight out of the fridge for breakfast, this cake can do no wrong...and I hope I haven't done it a sore disservice with the long-winded name.

Hobby or not, I love food -- its making and its consumption. I love this blog. And I especially love all of you who have kept on reading through low times and high.

And to my fellow cogs (in a machine) out there -- find a hobby you love! Until alternate universes become a reality, it will make all the difference :)

**If you don't use all your crumble mixture, keep it in the fridge. The next morning cube some fruit into a oven-safe dish, top with the crumble, and pop in the oven until the crumble is crisp and the fruit is soft and juices bubbling. Top with yogurt. Breakfast!


Paula said...

what a delicious cake!

have a nice time!

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

That is a cake recipe for me. Love pears and the crumble. I will take the recipe to try. Thanks for sharing.

Ling said...

Yay! I have pears to use up!! :D

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a splendid cake!



Lisa said...

What a gorgeous golden cake. I love that shot of the inside. It's enough to make anyone hungry.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks was!

Hi My Kitchen in the Rockies! Hope you enjoy the cake :)

Hi Ling! Glad to be of service!

Hi Rosa! I am really in love with this cake from Clotilde, especially after browning the butter!

Hi Lisa! And it's such a snap to make!

Junglefrog said...

Haha... I think the definition of a writer is... wel someone who writes. Or would it be the definition of someone who writes for a living? I am not sure really, but then I have heard that writing for a living is certainly not very profitable (unless your name is JK Rowling or such) so to me you are a writer! And that cake... now THAT is what I call delicious!

veron said...

Just the mention of brown butter has me salivating. I love the chunks of pear in it too!

Stepford Mum said...

Yum! Did you use real pears (the kind not usually found in the Philippines) or the ones they sell in the supermarket, the yellowy ones?

Anne said...

Oh my! My decision to go on a diet just crumbled apart when I saw your post :) The cake looks so tempting!

Ash said...

holy yum!!

Ananda Rajashekar said...

What a lovely cake and gorgeous click, first time here ChichaJo loving it :)

mangocheeks said...

It is a very inviting cake.

Mom-Friday said...

Love this! The name, the color, the crumble! :))) Would be great with apples too i suppose.

I am leaving you with this:Versatile Blogger award
Just sharing the blog love...hope you claim it :)

chef_d said...

Yummy, brown butter smells so good! I bet this cake is heavenly!

Meaghan Frubalee said...

i'm rather certain you are a perfectly awesome at naming blogs/recipes. the title of this blog tugged at my heart strings- going to have to make this SOON!

thanks for posting! beautiful as always


Sherry said...

There's nothing wrong with being a 'a girl who loves cake...' The recipe looks amazing and I'm looking forward to trying it out. Thanks!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Junglefrog! I can definitely live with that definition ;) Thanks!

Hi Veron! Me too! It was all I could do not to stick my face in the bowl for the smell!

Hi Iyor! These pears were the green ones with the slim top and fat bottoms, either Anjou or Bartlett, not sure, not the round yellow Asian ones. Although I have seen these green ones in the supermarkets now so if you like them, try Rustans Fresh :)

Hi Anne! That decision keeps crumbling for me too! Heehee :)

Hi Ash! Haha!

Hi Ananda! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment :)

Thanks Mangocheeks :)

Hi Mom-Friday! Yes, you could indeed make it with apples – the original incarnation on Chocolate & Zucchini is with apples :) An award! Thank you!

Hi Chef D! Oh boy…you said it! The smell is so enticing!

Thank you Meaghan! Hope you like it!

Heehee…thanks Sherry :)

Tv Food and Drink said...

You are a writer because you write. Getting to the keyboard or journal or parade of post-it notes and ordering thoughts is all you need to do to qualify! I love your blog and always look forward to new posts!

Lucy said...

This cake looks irresistible - the name alone just makes me hungry! Delicious :)

Midge said...

I love how pears add a fudgy texture to cake, amping up the moistness and adding a little sugary oomph to the finished product. And brown butter? Nutty without the nuts!

Paz said...

Your cake looks delish!

Paz ;-)

stargazer said...

Hello Joey. I've been lurking since late 2007 and I finally can't stand it. I HAD to comment! I love your site and I have bookmarked tens of baking (and non-baking) posts from your site. I very recently got an oven (an electric one, though) and I am absolutely RARING to get baking.

I have been cooking since I was seven but I have ZERO baking experience so this blog is very much a revelation (and an inspiration) for me. I might try the no-knead bread first. =)

Would you or any of your readers be able to help me: can my little electric oven do the same things as the bigger, mre sophisticated gas ovens do? bake bread and cakes? Roast veggies? Make creme brulee?

Thank you so much!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Gary! Thank you so much for you kind words :)

Hi Lucy! Thanks!

Hi Midge! The pears really do add such a lovely moistness to the cake --- I love baking with fruit :)

Thanks Paz :)

Hi Stargazer! I’m so glad you have been enjoying my site…and thank you for finally commenting! :) I am not an experienced baker myself so all I can say is Go Go Go! You will have lots of fun and sweet stuff to eat afterwards :) With regards to the oven, you should be able to bake in your electric but what you bake (or cook) in it will depend on what temperatures it can reach. My advice is to get an oven thermometer so you make sure that you are at the temperature the recipe calls for (very important in baking). Hope this helps!

Maria @ Scandi Foodie said...

I love cakes with delicious crumbles, this sounds fantastic!

Carlos said...

Oh lord! that cake and a cup of coffee and I will be in pig's heaven.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Maria! I love cakes with crumble too…makes it so much better :)

Hi Carlos! With some coffee definitely!

Chris said...

You had me at brown butter...or was it pear...or maybe the crumble...

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love crumble cakes, Joey! And pears do not get all the attention they deserve in baking. Delicious!

Stephen said...

two thumbs up girl! A mouth watering cake.. You have a lot of surprises in your blog.. :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Chris! Hehehe…that’s why I love it too :)

Hi Patricia! I agree with you about the pears…they turned out so lovely in this cake! I am definitely going to look for more ways to bake with them :)

Thanks Stephen!

Anonymous said...

My 11 year old was looking for somoething tasty to cook today (Sunday). It's our day to play in the kitchen. He found this and we are drooling over the keyboard.
It's to be tested here very soon. Thanks for sharing. :-)

Stu said...

Thanks - this is so simple and the kids loved it. I love it when people can easily take otherwsie bland food and make it something to remember...

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites! Works well also with fresh apples or even canned pears.

Ma Barker

Lucy Cleary said...

I must make this pineapple upside down cake.It looks delicious