Wednesday, January 13

Cinnamon & pear cake


It's nice to be inspired by other bloggers, especially when they inspire you to make something as yummy as this. Once again, this recipe is taken from Technicolor Kitchen. The recipe, again, initially comes from Donna Hay. It's funny getting recipes from an Australian magazine, from a blog that isn't Australian - especially when you own the original magazine it came from.

This cake is quite nice, though it definitely needs to syrup poured over the top at the end. Without it, it's a bit too plain. The recipe is very simple, though I found the number of pears requested by the recipe (initially 3) to be too many, 2 would suffice assuming Australian pears aren't exceptionally large or something along those lines. A bit of ice cream on the side wouldn't go amiss either.


Cinnamon & pear cake

(adapted from Donna Hay Magazine #14)
serves 8-10

2 pears, cut in half, then each half into four wedges, seeds removed
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
184g (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
55g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
55g (1/3 cup)dark brown sugar
3 eggs
225g (1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice
80ml (1/3 cup) whole milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F); generously grease and line the bottom of a deep 23cm (9in) fluted flan/tart pan with a removable bottom.

Combine the pears, honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until the pears are just tender. Drain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg over the butter mixture, beat in at a slow speed just to incorporate. Fold through the milk.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the pears on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Carefully remove the cake from the pan while still warm, spoon over the reserved poaching liquid and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 5

Cinnamon sticks


For the past year or two I've wanted to make the cinnamon candy canes featured in Donna Hay Magazine #24, so when I saw them made over at Technicolor Kitchen I thought it was about time I did. Yet, somehow Christmas came and went and making candy cane biscuits no longer seemed appropriate. Rather than leave this recipe for another year, I set about making them into sticks. They're not as cute as candy canes, but that's okay.

The recipe itself is a tad too sweet for me, which is unfortunate. They're still tasty and I have been snacking on them all afternoon. Apparently, when my brain says "too sweet" my mouth says "yum!"

The biscuits are supposed to be cinnamon flavoured, however mine aren't. The spice mix I used is apparently the traditional speculass spice mix, this was by no means intentional. I grabbed the spice I thought was cinnamon and only after mixing it in did I look at the packet. Silly me. These's nothing wrong with this spice mix in these biscuits, it just means that rather than tasting of cinnamon they taste of allspice. You could use any combination of sweet spices if you wanted, there's no reason these can't have a hint of nutmeg or cloves. There's also no reason they can't be candy caned shaped!

(though these weren't my favourite biscuits, I just recieved a text that said: "You left your biscuit sticks here so I ate them all. They were delicious." Friends, gotta love them!)

Cinnamon sticks

(adapted from Donna Hay Magazine #24)
makes about 20

185g (6 1/2oz) butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon or Quatre Epices
2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 egg white, lightly beaten
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Place the butter, sugar, and spice mix in a food processor and process until smooth, Add the egg, egg yolk, and flour and process until a smooth dough forms. Lightly knead the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F), line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Roll one tablespoon of mixture to form a 15cm log, transfer to lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes on tray. Once firm, transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Once throughly cooled, brush the sticks with egg white and sprinkle over the sugar. Store in an air tight container.