- For the pear topping:
- 3 or 4 large firm pears
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 90 g butter
- 90 g caster or granulated sugar
- 2 tblsp syrup from a jar of preserved ginger (or use 2 tbsp honey plus 1 tsp freshly grated ginger instead)
- For the cake:
- 125 g butter, at room temperature
- 125 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 100 g self-raising flour
- 30 g ground almonds
- 3 tblsp syrup from a jar of preserved ginger (or use 3 tbsp honey plus 2 tsp freshly grated ginger instead)
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- crème fraîche or ice cream, to serve
- equipment: ovenproof frying pan, about 28cm across and at least 3.5cm deep, or a tarte tatin tin
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan, 350°F, Gas 4.
- To make the pear topping: Peel, core and thinly slice the pears. Squeeze lemon juice over the slices to prevent them from discolouring. It’s important to have the pears ready before preparing the caramel.
- Place the frying pan over a low heat and add the butter, sugar and the preserved ginger syrup (or honey and grated ginger). Allow the butter and sugar to melt and then turn up the heat. Cook until the mixture turns golden. Don’t worry if the butter separates from the sugar, it will all come back together again in the end. Swirl the pan to mix the caramel so that it colours evenly. Remove from the heat as soon as it becomes a rich golden colour. Slide the pear slices immediately into the caramel, spreading them over the base of the frying pan as evenly as possible. Take great care not to cause any splashes with the hot liquid or to touch the caramel.
- To make the cake: Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and add the eggs little by little, beating between each addition. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, ginger syrup (or honey and ginger) and baking powder. Place spoonfuls of the batter at intervals on top of the pears and then spread it out to cover the pears completely.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer into the centre. When the skewer comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife. Place a serving plate (or board), slightly larger than the cake, on top of the pan. Lift the plate and the pan together, holding both tightly, and flip them over sharply (use a cloth to protect your lower hand from any dribbling juices). Lift off the pan. Serve with some crème fraîche or ice cream.
From Lynda's Table is available from all good bookstores and The Dublin Cookery School, http://www.dublincookeryschool.ie/