Once in blue moon, a batch of pears fails to ripen properly. They are fine and white all the way to the core, but are still hard, even if you have left them in a sunny window for a week. They haven't become soft and sweet. The best and easiest way to preserve and enjoy these pears is to cook them up in a French Pear Cake. I have adapted this recipe from my 1972 copy of The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker. The original recipe says to use apples or peaches. I think pears are best here.
A deep, 8-inch pie pan, or equivalent, buttered or brushed with Canola Oil
- Juice from 1 large Navel Orange
- Zested Rind from 1 large Navel Orange
- 3 cups peeled, cored and sliced Pears
- 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves) or 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Tb Brown Sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Tb Canola Oil
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 deg F (220 deg C).
- Put the Orange Juice and the Orange Zest into the pie pan.
- Add the Pears and Dried Cranberries, and toss to coat with the Juice and Zest.
- Sprinkle the 1 tsp Mixed Spice and 2 Tb Brown Sugar over the fruit .
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the Flour, 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.
- In a small bowl, mix the Eggs, Canola Oil and Milk.
- Pour the Egg mixture into the Flour mixture and beat together with a spatula until blended.
- Pour the batter over the fruit.
- Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve hot or warm, with Milk or Cream to pour over the top of each serving.