Serves: 8 - 10
4-6 firm but ripe pears e.g. beurre bosc
40 grams butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean – optional
2 tablespoons brandy
1 cup golden syrup 125 ml water 75 grams unsalted butter 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
300 grams flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
125 ml water
125 ml cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 22 cm square baking tin
Pears: Cut the pears into quarters or sixths and remove the cores. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and sprinkle over the sugar. Add the pears and vanilla bean and cook for 5 minutes. Add the brandy. Continue cooking the pears, turning them often, until they are golden and tender but still holding their shape. Depending on how firm they are, this could take 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. They can be cooked the day before, but need to be re-warmed to serve with the cake.
Gingerbread: Combine the golden syrup, water, butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir the cooled golden syrup mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
Caramel sauce: Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved then increase the heat to high. Boil until a rich golden colour – about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and carefully add the cream. It will spit and bubble up. Place back over the heat and stir until smooth.
To serve: Place the cake on a serving platter and pile the warm pears on top. Dust the cake with a little icing sugar and serve the warm caramel sauce in a small bowl. Ice-cream, mascarpone or softly whipped cream can be served alongside if desired. This cake will keep for 4-5 days in an air-tight container. Store the pears separately in the refrigerator. Serves 8-10