It’s cooled down significantly now that it’s mid-September and rain is on the horizon here in the Pacific Northwest. I am in a full fall moment, cooking braises and warm dishes to distract me from the fact perfect summer weather has come to an end. So when I knew I was having some adventurous eaters over for dinner, I decided to try something new. It was a long week and I didn’t get home until 4:30 on a Friday. I had less than 3 hours to prep a full meal and dessert! Of course, I left dessert until the last second (hour). I knew I had almond meal, eggs, and some ripe pears on hand. This gluten free cake was the result and it was a home-run! I hope you enjoy it. Perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea the next day, too.
Pear Almond Cake In a Pan
Makes 6 servings
2 pears, ripe, peeled, cored, and sliced ⅛” thin
2 Tb unsalted butter
1 pinch of kosher salt
3 Tb granulated or superfine sugar, plus ¼ cup
1 ½ Tb cornstarch or 2 Tb arrowroot powder
¾ cup almond meal or almond flour
2 eggs, white and yolks separated
Turn your oven on to 350F. While the oven is heating up, take out a small saucepan and small 9” cake pan or simply use one non-stick 9” omelet pan for the entire recipe. If you’re using the cake pan, you might want to cut out a 9” round of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Melt the butter in the nonstick pan. Add your 3 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. Using a wooden spoon or non-stick spatula stir the mixture over medium heat until it’s a caramel color. This will take 5-7 minutes. Once it the right color, it can burn quickly so be careful. Once you have the color of caramel, remove the pan from the heat right away. Add 1 tsp of almond extract or vanilla extract (optional). Add your sliced pear in a decorative manner. It’s okay if they overlap!
Take out two mixing bowls and a handheld mixer with the whisk attachments. Beat the egg whites until they form “stiff peaks”. See image below. Basically, when you hold the whisk up the egg white shouldn’t droop over. If it does, that’s a “soft peak.”
In the other bowl, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy. You can do both of these with a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk, it’ll just take some manual effort. Add the ¼ cup of sugar and almond flour to the fluffy egg yolks and combine with your non-stick spatula. This will be a dense, thick cake mix. Add half the egg whites to the batter and fold with your spatula until it is combined. Add the remaining egg whites but be careful not to overmix as you’ll lose all the “air” you just added to the egg whites. Don’t worry if there are small clumps or streaks of white egg white in the batter. Top the caramel pear mixture with the cake mix and smooth out. Place your pan into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cake is just set. While still warm, flip your pear cake carefully onto a plate. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, a dessert wine, or on it’s own.