Whole Wheat Pear + Walnut Cake

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More late harvest baking. I can't seem to stop. Apples and pears are just too good, and we've discovered a farmer who supplies the best of them in a range of varieties at our local market. The closer we get to the end of their season, the more absurd my Sunday haul gets - I want to take full advantage before they disappear! 

Of course this means I end up with a kitchen countertop covered in fruit that I most definitely can't get through in a week, so I usually end up baking something simple with the ripest of the lot. This time around it was the below recipe, which I served to friends a couple of nights ago. I was surprised when one of them said it was "such an American dessert" - I didn't particularly see it as so, but I suppose the notes of heavy spice with autumnal fruit is rather evocative of apple pie, which got me thinking I should make this when I'm back in Detroit this Thanksgiving. But then again, the pairing of walnuts and a crumbly, sticky top layer is more like a German-American coffee cake. On that note, and the fact that this is made with whole wheat flour (basically health food, right?), I think I'll serve it for breakfast instead, with plenty of coffee and some yogurt.


Whole Wheat Pear + Walnut Cake

3 ripe pears
3 eggs
150 grams brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
165 grams whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 small pat of butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. 

Core and cut two pears into cubes. Core the third pear and cut into thin slices. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until slightly fluffy and smooth. Whisk in cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon, add flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring until well combined. Gently fold in cubed pears and walnuts. 

Lightly butter a 9-inch baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, transfer cake batter into prepared pan and shake to evenly distribute. Arrange pear slices on top, slightly pushing them into the batter. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush pear slices with melted butter. Sprinkle with raw sugar, transfer to oven, and bake until cooked through and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool and serve with fresh cream, ice cream or plain yogurt with a shaving of fresh nutmeg.