You can tell when it’s here: it smells different in the house, there are more and more people on the street, your hair seems brighter. Summer. This wonderful time of year when everything seems possible, from traveling across the globe to harvesting the greatest garden anyone has ever seen.
With summer comes changes to my routine; I suddenly get up earlier in the morning, I go running outside more often, the music I listen to is lighter and happier. Aside from just generally being in a better mood, I seem to have new taste for desserts that are less sweet, more fruity, delicious, refreshing.
It has everything to do with the fact that our Ontario growers are giving us plenty of berries, pears, peaches, veggies … everything fresh from the ground. And to see the result of their hard labour does inspire me to use their products as much as I can.
For the following dessert, I used Bosc pears, which we actually grow in Ontario. The Bosc pear is very flavourful and perfect for baking and dessert in general. It is sweet, yet when you bake it, it will not fall in pieces. I have learned that it is more of a winter pear that grows widely in the western U.S, and that we have been able to grow it here in Ontario as well. I had no idea that in Ontario we cultivate about 15 different types of pears. As a productive tree, it can also be difficult to train since the tree lacks in branching and has spindly growth.
This pear cake has to be one of the easiest cakes I have made in a long time, but also one of the most interesting. Once cooked, it has this custardy texture that meets the softness and sweetness of the pears – very delicious. With a spoon of your favourite ice cream or sorbet (here I made a raspberry and black berry sorbet) this dessert is, to me, a perfect way to finish a summer evening dinner on a light yet satisfying note. This is a recipe I tried from a 2012 LCBO magazine.
You will need:
3 to 4 Bosc pers, skinned and cut in tin slices
1/2 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of milk
For the garnish:
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons of butter, melted
In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a big measuring cup, mix together the vanilla, eggs, vegetable oil and milk.
Drop on top on the dry ingredients and mix well.
Delicately add the sliced pears and mix until combined.
Pour into a 9 inch rectangular baking tray filled with parchment paper.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 350F, or until the top starts being golden.
In the meanwhile, mix the ingredients of the garnish together in a bowl.
Once you hit the 30 minutes mark, pour the garnish on top of the cake, and keep cooking for 15 to 20 minutes.
Eat the cake warm with a spoon of your favourite ice cream or sorbet, and enjoy!