Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Unwanted pears

Many people may rejoice at the dawning of the pear season. Whilst not as popular as the cousin the apple, the pear is definitely a much used fruit. I hate them. I hate the fibrous, bland flesh which gets caught in my teeth and the disappointment of the first bite. When I eat one I am reminded why I usually buy apples. Apples, the lovely little favourites, which have so many uses from stewing in an autumnal soup to slicing and scattering over yoghurt and oats for breakfast. I got a lovely batch in my last fruit and veg box. Rosy red and lime green flesh; some sharing size, some just the size of a ping pong ball with exquisite little leaves poking out of the top. They are beautiful - not too sharp, not too soft.
Along with the bag of apples came another bag. This bag was full of sorry looking green and dirt-brown pears. A bit annoying, but I tried to make the best of the situation. I had to remind myself that is not the potential taste of pears I dislike but a pear itself. Armed with this reminder I set about thinking of a use for them. The end result was a delightful autumn treat: a baked bread/brownie/cakey thing spiced with ginger and cinnamon.
A few notes: I wanted it to be not-too-unhealthy and so it doesn't have that much sugar or butter in. The end product was nice and I certainly don't think any butter is required since the bit of coconut oil and pear give it all the moisture it needs; however a tad more sugar/treacle would probably improve it slightly. As the picture shows, I do not have a loaf tin or cupcake tray or any small-area baking tray and so the end result was more of a slice (or could be named a tray bake if feeling generous).

Oaty pear slice with cinnamon and treacle

- small pears, 3-4
- ginger root, 3cm
- ground cinnamon, tbsp
- medium eggs, 2
- golden caster sugar, 50g
- vanilla extract, tsp
- black treacle, a good heaped tablespoon
- plain flour, 150g
- oats, 50g (or an extra 50g of flour)
- baking powder, tsp
- coconut oil, heaped tbsp
- pinch of salt
- walnut pieces, small handful

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees. Chop of both end of the pears and slice in half lengthways twice (to form long quarters). Slice out the pips and grate each piece over a bowl. Then grate the ginger over the pile of grated pear and set to one side. In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and oats. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with an electric whisk for a few minutes till fluffy. Add the sugar and whisk for a couple of minutes more. Then add the vanilla extract, treacle and coconut oil and mix together till combined. Add the flour mixture, the grated pear and ginger and walnut pieces. Mix together to form a sticky cake dough. Pour out into a greased baking tin (or loaf tin or cupcake tray - it depends on how you want the finished product to look) and bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Remove and leave to cool for ten minutes or so before cutting into slices.

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