Homer (of The Odyssey not of The Simpsons) loved them. He called pears “a gift of the gods.”
By the time the Renaissance came along, Europeans were even more in love with pears. The powerful Medici dukes, for example, had fruit gardens with expansive collections of pear trees. Interestingly, in an era long before the DSLR, the mode for recording an image was the painting–at least for the Renaissance’s 1% who could afford to be generous patrons of the arts. Thus, The Medicis paid artists to paint images of everything from prospective wives to inventories of the their gardens. Here is a reproduction of Bartolomeo Bimbi’s famous (although not universally admired) pear painting, cataloging the more than 115 varieties of pears growing in the Medici orchards. That is a whole lot of pears!
As is always the case with Costco, the bags were way too large for my small household but I gave in to temptation and bought a bag. I’ve been eating and cooking with pears ever since–and exploring the Internet for promising new pear recipes to use up my bounty.
Here is the recipe for a beautiful pear spice cake that I found on the AllRecipes site. The link to the original recipe appears at the bottom of this post.
Who knew pears could be so delicious?
Homer, of course, would say, “d’oh!” to my lame late appreciation of the full wonder of pears. (Homer of the…oh, never mind. D’oh!)
Recipe: Fresh Pear Cake
4 C. peeled, cored and chopped pears
2 C. white sugar
3 C. sifted all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
4 egg whites
2/3 C. canola oil
1 C. chopped pecans
Prepare pears and add sugar. Mix gently and let sit on your counter for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat egg whites until frothy. Add egg whites to oil, chopped pecans and pear/sugar mixture.
Sift flour with baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Stir flour mixture into pear mixture.
Pour batter into well-greased bundt pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F. for one hour and 10 minutes, checking frequently to see if cake is done by using a wooden toothpick or kebab spear to check for doneness. (Toothpick should come out of the cake clean rather than covered with uncooked batter.)
When done, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from bundt pan.
Once removed from pan, cool cake and, when cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Cook’s Notes: This cake is, to my taste, best eaten slightly warm to bring out the flavor of the pears. Served cold, it is very sweet. I may reduce the sugar in my recipe the next time I make this cake.
Here is the link to the original recipe from All Recipes: