Pear, Goji Berry and Almond Loaf

After making a couple of purchases from the Maggie Beer stand at the Good Food and Wine show over the weekend, I was super keen to use the dried Duchess Pears that I had bought.

I was initially thinking of making a muesli slice, and just adding the pear to it. After opening the pack and smelling their delicious sweet scent, I knew I needed to make them the star of the dish (OMG I sound like a Masterchef judge with that comment!).

Searching on the Lifestyle Food website, I came across a Bill Granger recipe for Apple, Dried Cherry and Almond Loaf (from his ‘Every Day’ book) that I thought I could adapt.  Whilst I was confident the Pears alone would give enough flavour to the loaf, I wanted to add a little something extra. It was a decision between Goji Berries and Cranberries and I’m very happy with the decision I made!

This is soooo good...

This is soooo good…

50g rolled oats

300ml milk

240g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

180g dried pears (original recipe is 125g dried cherries and 50g diced dried apple)

75g brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons honey

1 lightly beaten egg

3 tablespoons of roughly chopped almonds & additional 1 tablespoons of extra chopped almonds

* Place oats in a bowl with milk and soak for 30 minutes

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a loaf tin

* Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir in rolled oats mixture, dried fruit, sugar, cinnamon, honey, egg and almonds

* Spoon into tin, level the top and sprinkle extra almonds over the mixture.

* Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Lemon and Almond Cake

Ok, I will admit I didn’t read through the whole page this recipe was on before I started making it.  The title hooked me, I love almond cake and my sister loves lemon cake… perfect!

When I finally read through the whole thing, and the suggestion to wrap the cake in foil and leave it for a couple of days before actually eating it, I was annoyed..  When I make a cake, I want to be able to eat it NOW – maybe this impatience is the Gen Y in me coming out?

As much as it pained me to do it, once the cake was cooled, I carefully wrapped it in a couple of layers of foil and left it for two days before we tasted it.

The lemon flavour was quite intense – paired with some fresh strawberries and sprinkled with icing sugar it was really nice, and not too tart. It is a really moist and dense cake (hence the name ‘Damp Lemon & Almond Cake’ I guess),  and the texture reminded me of the Coffee Club’s Orange and Almond loaf which is one of my all time favourites.  I will make this again, just to substitute the lemon for oranges.

This cake is perfect to make on a Friday afternoon & then enjoy on a lazy Sunday.

Damp Lemon & Almond Cake copy

Nigella Lawson’s Damp Lemon & Almond Cake (from How to be a Domestic Goddess)

225g soft unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

50g plain flour

225g ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar until almost white.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition
  • When all eggs and flour have been added, stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour mixture into 21-23cm springform cake tin (lined on the bottom) and bake for approximately one hour.  Check after 30 minutes and if it’s browning too quickly cover the top with foil.
  • Cool in tin for 5 minutes, and then remove onto a wire rack
  • Once cool, wrap well in foil for a couple of days before eating.