Pear, Hazelnut and Rosewater Cake

Pear and hazelnut cakeI love that I don’t have a microwave. When I did own one I barely used it. The occasional reheating and warming milk, that was it. I certainly never used it to cook food in. It just didn’t feel right.  So when I moved into a tiny one bedroom flat with the tiny one person kitchen I decided I didn’t want to take up valuable space with a piece of gadgetry I hardly ever used. I also wanted to keep thing simple and more natural. I don’t have a toaster either, purely to save space. I have to say this has resulted in many a burnt toast as I forget about it under the grill while I’m distracted by something, usually someone’s blog.

People have also looked at me quizzically when I say I really don’t want a thermomix. Don’t get me wrong they certainly have their place, that’s just not in my kitchen. I like that it takes me time to make ice cream, a risotto that needs constant tending, and I like a dough that requires time kneading. I don’t want any machine that takes that pleasure away from me.

In saying all that there are times when you have to be inventive, like softening butter…butter

Still, I wouldn’t change a thing and as Autumn brings cooler evenings I will be welcoming it with my central heater, the kitchen oven.Pear and hazelnut cake

Pear, Hazelnut and Rosewater Cake

100g hazelnuts

100g plain flour

2 tspn baking powder

200g softened unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

100g golden caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tspn vanilla extract

2 not quite ripe pears

Rosewater syrup

2 tbspn caster sugar

4 tblspn water

1 tspn rose water

1 tspn cinnamon

1 tspn dried rose petals

Line a 24cm spring form baking tin. Warm oven to 150°C. Place the hazelnuts in a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes or until you see the skins cracking. Remove and tip onto a tea towel. Increase oven temperature to 180°C. Gather up the tea towel edges and rub the hazelnuts together so the skins will fall off. Don’t be too fussy about this, some skin left on is fine. Pop them into a food processor and when cooled down a bit whiz them to a fine ground.

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and add ground hazelnuts. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating each in well before adding the next. Add vanilla extract with the last egg.  Add flour/hazelnut mix and gently fold through well. Tip into the baking tin and spread out to cover the bottom.

Peel and quarter the pears, slice out the core and then slice the quarter into 3-4 more slices. Lay over the cake in a circle, over lapping is fine.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool. To make the syrup, mix the caster sugar and water in a very small saucepan over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Then add the rosewater and remove from the heat. Pierce the cake with a skewer to make alot of holes over the cake. Spoon over about 3/4 of the syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dried rose petals.

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