Recipe tip: A simple but scrumptious family pudding.
English pears so they are especially good quality and abundant at the moment so we decided on a pudding for pears this week.
Pears go especially well with chocolate and combining the two in a rich, moist sponge is very special indeed. Sometimes, if we have them to hand, we scatter dark chocolate drops among the pears and on top of the sponge before cooking – a decadent but not essential addition.
4 pears, peeled, cored & cut into eighths
juice of 1/2 lemon
200g soft butter, plus a little extra for the pears
100g light soft brown sugar, plus a little extra for the pears
100g caster sugar
Splash of vanilla extract (optional)
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
4 eggs, beaten
150ml buttermilk or a mixture of half plain yoghurt & milk
- Mix the cocoa with 60ml boiling water until it forms smooth paste and set aside to cool.
- Put the pears into an ovenproof dish, (approx 2.5 litre capacity), add the lemon juice, a heaped tbsp of brown sugar and about 8 peanut-size pieces of butter. Toss together so the pears are well coated.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) gas 5. Place pears in the oven so they start to cook as the oven heats up.
- In the meantime start the cake.
- Cream the butter and sugars with some vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar – if the mixture starts to curdle add a spoonful of flour to stabilise it.
- Once all the egg is incorporated, add the cocoa paste and then the flour and the buttermilk mixture. Fold together until all the ingredients are blended.
- Remove the pears from the oven and pour the sponge batter over the top. Return to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the cake is just set.
- Serve straight away with cream or custard.