French Almond-Pear Cake

“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
Edward Bunyard, ‘The Anatomy of Dessert’

More pear than cake, this cake is just bursting with fruit. Choose pears that are ripe yet still firm.  The pears do not need to be peeled, so this cake is super quick to make.   French in style, there is only enough batter to hold the fruit together. As far as cakes go, it is pretty guilt-free.  The almonds on top give it another layer of almond flavor and make it gorgeous to serve. Oh là là, délicieux!

French Almond-Pear Cake

  • 3/4 cup flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    pinch salt
    4 ripe but firm pears, cored, cut in chunks
    2 large eggs
    3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    2 teaspoons of almond paste or extract
    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350F and center rack in middle of oven.
Butter an 8 inch springform pan and set it on a baking sheet.
Combine the  flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl whisk eggs, then add sugar and almond essence. Whisk in half of the flour then add half the butter. Repeat. Fold in the pears  and mix only until coated with batter. Sprinkle the almonds across the top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden. Some of my almonds burned a little so I would recommend lightly covering the cake with a piece of parchment paper and removing it in the final 5 minutes of baking.  Rest the cake on a cooling rack  then run a knife around the edges to separate cake from the springform’s sides before removing the sides.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving if desired.
The cake will keep for up to 2 days.

Still Life with Two Pears
oil on canvas, 2013
By Johanne Lamarche
Private Collection