I made this in Beirut last summer when we received a bushelful of pears from our orchard. It is really easy to make and taste delicious and light. I made it again yesterday in the shape of cupcakes. Apparently, the cupcake craze has reached Beirut too, which prompted an article in the online NOWLebanon.com news site, listing new bakeries that have popped up in Beirut specializing in cupcakes (-Cupcakes are chic and so is Beirut)
The recipe for this cupcake is inspired by a recipe in Marlene Mattar’s book Ma’edat Marlene. It can be made with either fresh or canned pears.
INGREDIENTS: Quantity will yield 6 cupcakes or an 8 inch cake
- 2 eggs, size Large at room temperature
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- rind of a lemon (optional) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (leave the milky residue out)
- 1/3 cup yoghurt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 or 3 pears, with a few tablespoons of syrup
- Garnish: 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
First Step: Prepare the pears
- Peel the pears and place in a saucepan filled halfway with water and 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Bring to a boil. Add a sliver of lemon peel or a stick of vanilla bean for added flavor.
- Simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Cool.
- Take 2 pears and cut the flesh off in little pieces. Place in a small dish and sprinkle a tablespoon of flour on the fruit.
Second Step: Prepare the cake
Heat the oven to 350F
- Beat the eggs with the sugar in the bowl of a mixer until the color turns pale and the mixture doubles in size. You can warm the mixture if needed by placing the mixing bowl over a small pan filled halfway with boiling water for a couple of minutes, stirring the eggs constantly, then transfer to the mixer.
- Add the melted butter and mix gently. ( Please read tip) Add the yoghurt, mix and finally add the lemon rind or vanilla.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl with a whisk. Sift the mixture slowly over the egg mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix it slowly.
- Place the paper liners in the cupcake or muffin pan. Using a spoon, put a small quantity of batter in each cupcake liner. Place a few morsels of cut up pears on the batter. Add a few teaspoons of the remaining batter on top.
- Moisten your fingers with cold water and dab the batter on each cupcake to smooth it out. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on the cupcakes.
- Place in the oven and bake 25 minutes or so until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
- Prick each cupcake and pour 2 tablespoons of pear syrup on each cupcake top.
- Cool the cakes and serve with a few slices of pears.
If using canned fruit, cut up 2 pears for the stuffing. Use the syrup in the can to moisten the cupcakes and the rest of the pears to serve alongside the cakes.
I was watching Abu Dhabi TV (Cable) and the Manal Al-Alem cooking segment. She was making a sponge cake and when it came time to mix the butter in with the eggs, she took out about a cup ( with a ladle) of the egg mixture and mixed it first in a small bowl with the melted butter. Then, after it was perfectly mixed, she poured the content of the small bowl (with the butter and egg mixture) into the large mixing bowl with the rest of the egg and sugar sponge. This is a really good technique, because when you beat the eggs and sugar for the sponge, sometimes adding the butter in one lump will cause the eggs to deflate. FYI.