I have to admit, I don’t like making apple/pear/whatever fruit crumble. I don’t quite mind eating it because, well, it’s dessert, and I almost never pass up on dessert (or anything else, it appears!) – but when it comes to making it, I tend to get quite put off because the effort never seems to be worth it. Well, to me, at least.
That said, I still make it quite often as my mom is the biggest fan of crumble. However, a lot of crumble recipes use oats, and she doesn’t like them because as a child, she was forced to eat it every morning without fail. That’s why she and her sisters used to make up funny combinations together with oats, including egg. As much as I think it sounds delicious in a strange sort of way and would like to try it some day, I’m sure quite a few people would not agree and would just leave it at ‘strange’, much less attempt to eat a whole bowl of it.
So why have I rambled on about oats and crumble? Well, because this easy pear tea cake reminds me of crumble, minus the effort, which is always cause for celebration and an extra slice of cake! It smells like crumble when it’s baking. And then of course, the bits at the top of the cake resemble crumble. But joyfully enough, it’s such an easy cake to bake that I feel as though I’ve made crumble by cheating! This cake is a wondrous melange of three different textures: the moist cake at the bottom, the fruits which still retain a bit of a crunch to them, and then the almost crumbly, sugar-crusted chunks on top. And perhaps I’ve found it in my heart to love crumble just a little more. Funnily enough, I’d love to pair it with custard, but it so happened that we managed to restock our freezer with ice-cream so that was our pairing.
I made a few minor changes to the recipe in order to suit my pantry. I almost never use white sugar, unless it’s really needed, and I haven’t quite gotten around to buying wholemeal flour so I just used plain flour with baking powder. Also, due to the mix of fruits I used and my mother having a thing against cinnamon, I skipped out on adding this, but feel free to add it into the cake batter. I’ve also included most of the original instructions here, because what can I say but that they’re perfect? This recipe comes from Lorraine, whose recipes I love using. I’m not one to buy cookbooks, particularly because they’re so darn expensive and I’m used to browsing recipes on my laptop, but I feel sure that I’ll buy hers when it’s published. It might be that I trust her practicality, but I suspect it’s mostly because she calls herself Not Quite Nigella, and how could anyone in their right mind not find that positively charming?
Easy Pear Tea Cake
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp to sprinkle on top
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
125 g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
400 g diced pears/apples or tinned pears (I diced up 2 pears and 2 apples)
to serve: icing sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Grease and line an 20 cm/8 inch springform tin with baking paper.
Mix the flour, baking powder and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a bowl, then add the Greek yogurt, butter, egg and vanilla essence and combine well. Press three-quarters of the mix into the base of the tin – it will be like a sticky, buttery dough. It might look like there’s not enough, but believe me, there is!
Scatter the diced pears/apples on top.
Then place small pieces of the remaining dough on it in a patchwork pattern so that the pear is not entirely covered up.
Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar on top of the cake.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes and let cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar, if you like.
Revel in fruity goodness contained within a lovely cake.