Monday, April 28, 2008

an introduction & some pear butter cake.

And so here we are. The idea of starting a food blog has crossed my mind many times, but I have, for one reason or another, never managed to get around to doing it. So when my good friend Alice, a food photographer and fellow foodie, had the idea of doing one together, I finally decided to just go for it.

There are very few things in life that I can go on and on about more than my love of food. I was raised in an Italian household where food was always a huge deal when it came to being together as a family. There were usually always weekly get-togethers with all of the family with ingredients from the local Italian market and yes, a whole lotta pasta. After I became vegetarian at age eight (following the death of my rabbit), my grandmother would create all the classic Italian dishes with foods like homemade squash meatballs and faux ham. Oh, how I appreciated her openness for experimentation.

Of all the members of my family, my grandmother and I were the sugar addicts. A meal was not a meal if it was not followed up with dessert. She was not much of a baker besides putting together canolis and her famous icebox cake (which I hope to share someday), but her and I would always make sure to pick up a baked good or a carton of ice cream to enjoy at anytime of the day. If only she were still around today- I am sure she would be the first to appreciate the ever-abundant amount of sweets that are always being baked in my kitchen.

So I guess that is all to say for an introduction, at least for tonight. All you really need to know is that I bake a lot. And my sweet tooth has continued to this day. I have to decided to start this weblog with a recipe I made a few weeks ago. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks (one I posted about a couple of months ago): the fabulous Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. Pear Butter Cake- can you get much better than that?

pear butter cake.

Pear Butter Cake: from Apples for Jam


1/2 lb. plus 5 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the top
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
A good pinch of ground cardamom
A large pinch of nutmeg
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup half-and-half
4 small ripe pears


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 1/2" springform cake pan.
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the vanilla, lemon rind, cardmom, and nutmeg, and then add the eggs one by one, beating well after each one. Add the sifted flour and baking powder alternately with the half-and-half, and mix until you have a smooth batter.
Scrape out every drop into the cake pan. You don't need to be particular about leveling the surface because it will spread evenly during the baking. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, and core the pears. Take the cake from the oven and quickly scatter the pears over the top. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Return to the oven and bake for another 45 minutes or so, until the pears are lovely and golden in places, the cake is crusty, and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
Cool slightly before cutting and serving warm or at room temperature. Keep the cake covered tightly with aluminum foil so that it doesn't harden and you can then warm it through to serve.

Serves 10 to 12.


domestic porn said...

Found this from picturing_food on lj! I just bookmarked your blog! Love it!
I just started one myself @

Brandie said...

Wow! This looks amazing so far. I have a feeling that this is going to become one of my most favorite blogs! I am drooling already.

wildflower mama said...

loved reading your memories of sweets with grandma. she would be eating all your yummy stuff, playing with your yummy boys. mmmmm - even linked to monte carlos. food IS such a part of who we are. love to call you with all my ridiculous baking questions. can't wait to try all your recipes in the posts to come and have more reasons to call you. you're a fabulous cook, glad you're making time for this. Alice too. her pictures are always lovely and perfect.

toni said...

This is my favorite blog ever. I loved hearing about you and grandma. You two always did have that special bond of ice cream and sweets. I remember once when you wanted dessert for breakfast and I said, "no!" Grandma replied with, "Why not? Life is too short to not eat dessert first. What if you die before lunch!" I look forward to you and Alice making my mouth water.