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
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!