Chef's Note: A perfectly ripe Bartlett Pear from my new home state, Oregon, inspired this delectable cake made tender with extra virgin olive oil and fragrant with velvety pear and a hint of freshly ground nutmeg. Use California Olive Ranch’s Everyday Olive Oil in this special cake. It’s smooth, fruity, buttery taste won’t mask the gentle flavor of pear. A mixture of whole wheat pastry flour, ground almonds and coarse yellow cornmeal give the cake an irresistibly crunchy texture which is balanced by the delicate smoothness of the ripe Bartlett pear. Serve plain or with a dollop of softly whipped heavy cream.
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup coarse ground yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely ground roasted unsalted almonds with skins
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup California Olive Ranch Everyday extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large ripe Bartlett pear
Step 1: Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush the bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring-form pan with a thin film of olive oil.
Step 2: In a medium bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, 1/2 cup ground almonds, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and stir with a whisk until well blended. Set aside.
Step 3: Whisk the eggs in a large bowl (or beat with a wire beater in an electric mixer) gradually adding ¾ cup of the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
Step 4: While continuing to beat the egg mixture, add the olive oil gradually in a slow steady stream, until thoroughly blended. Add the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, folding into the egg and oil mixture with a rubber spatula until thoroughly blended. Scrap the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Step 5: Quarter the pear (do not peel), cut out the core and slice each quarter into 3 thin wedges. Equally space the 12 wedges of pear in pinwheel design on the surface of the cake pressing the slices into the batter. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar and ground almonds and sprinkle over the cake and the pear wedges.
Step 6: Bake the cake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool and cut into wedges.
Recipe Courtesy of Marie Simmons