Finally some cooler weather has hit Sydney, bringing with it some lovely rain and much needed respite from the persistent heat of the last month. You can imagine my delight when I woke yesterday to the gentle pitter-patter of rain and got up to find the forecast was for under 28°C for the first time in AGES!
After our morning walk (hooray for cooler, overcast skies and puddles in the street), I decided an impromptu baking session was in order. There’s been a distinct lack of baking in this house the past couple of months and rainy weather always makes me want to bake.
After setting up a temporary creche on one side of the kitchen (who knew tupperware was so exciting to little people?), I raided the pantry and fruit bowl to see what I could find…
Hazelnuts. Pears. Nutella.
This was looking promising…
I remembered seeing a beautiful cookbook cover once with a photograph of a pear cake on it. A whole pear had been baked into the loaf and the cake then sliced so you saw a beautiful cross-section of the fruit. Inspired by that beautiful cookbook (Home Made Winter by Yvette van Boven), this lovely nutty pear and hazelnut loaf was born.
Pear & Hazelnut loaf
(makes 1 medium loaf cake)
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread
80g plain flour
80g hazelnut meal
2 tsp baking powder
3 small pears
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line a medium bar tin with baking parchment.
Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time beating until combined, and then mix through chocolate hazelnut spread.
In a small bowl sift flour and baking powder together before adding the hazelnut meal and stirring to combine. Add to the egg and butter mixture and fold in gently.
Peel the pears, leaving stems intact, but removing base of the core.
Pour 1/3 cake batter into prepared tin before placing peeled pears at equally spaced intervals along the tin. Pour remaining batter in around the pears, making sure to leave the stems protruding.
Bake for 35-40mins or until cooked through.
Serve warm in thick slices with a big cup of tea (and maybe a sneaky dollop of double cream).