If I could have only one loaf recipe in my repertoire, then this would be it. Dense, sticky and fruity all at the same time, it makes a wonderful afternoon tea or dessert.
1 cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/3 cup cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup brown sugar
60 grams butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
225 grams butter
½ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced
6 cup-capacity loaf tin
greased and lined fully with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
Salted caramel: Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Boil until the syrup turns a good golden colour, brushing off any sugar crystals from the side of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
Remove from the heat and carefully add the rum, cream and salt, taking care as the mixture will bubble up furiously.
Return to the heat and simmer until the sauce is smooth again. Cool.
Crumble: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips to make damp, coarse crumbs. Chill until ready to use.
Cake: Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well to combine then beat in the milk. Combine the flour, salt, mixed spice and baking powder and gently beat into the butter mixture. Fold in the pears. The batter will be thick.
To assemble: Spread half the batter evenly in the base of the loaf tin. Top with half the crumble mixture, then drizzle over a third of the caramel. Repeat to make another layer of batter and crumble then add another third of caramel, reserving the remaining caramel.
Bake for 60 minutes, covering the top loosely with foil if it starts getting too brown. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes.
To serve: Lift the loaf out of the tin and remove the baking paper. Warm the reserved caramel sauce and pour over the loaf when ready to serve. A bowl of softly whipped cream is a great accompaniment if desired. Makes 1 loaf