Cooking with Karin

Friday, November 2, 2012

Almond Cakes with Caramelized Pears

These little Almond Cakes are one of my go-to recipes. They are absolutely delicious, especially if you love almond flavor as much as I do.

Here, I'm using them as a base for a fall-inspired topping of Caramelized Pears, but in the past I've topped them with peach sorbet and raspberry sauce for an updated "peach melba" dessert.

I've also prepared the batter in a tart pan, topped it with peeled, sliced pears and then sprinkled the top with sugar and slivered almonds.

This is just a good, easy dessert recipe to keep in your back pocket! Yes, it's a butter-packed recipe, but a good option when entertaining.

BTW, when I baked these for the photo I used some inexpensive tart pans. Since then, I've been using my go-to for individual desserts:  Silicone Baking Cups. The tart pans I used to use started sticking, no matter how much I greased them, and the silicone cups never stick. I mean NEVER! Love that!

Have a great weekend! See you Monday,

Individual Almond Cakes with Caramelized Pears

For the Cakes:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bow and beat until smooth. Divide the batter among 6 individual (4-inch) tart pans with removable bottoms.  Smooth out the batter with a spatula and tap lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes, until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the pans while still warm and set aside until ready to serve.

For the Pears:
4 firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine pears and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the pears and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown around the edges, 3-4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are sauce and the juices and sugar have formed a syrup, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

For serving:
Vanilla bean ice cream

To serve, place a cake in the center of a dinner plate. Top with a scoop of the ice cream and drizzle with some of the pears and syrup.

Makes 6 servings.

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