If I were to ever write a cookbook the title of it would be “I have no idea how this is going to turn out: My adventures (and misadventures) in cooking”.
I suppose the proposed title would also be sufficient for my memoir if I swap out the word “cooking” for “life”. But, “I have no idea how this is going to turn out” is a phrase Mr. Moore hears me say probably five times a week when I’m cooking.
I’m prone to experimentation in the kitchen, which is why I don’t often post what I cook on here. Not because my experiments don’t turn out well… In fact, I’m proud to say I’ve never cooked a meal Mr. Moore found inedible, or even one that he found less than pleasant. But, often, when I’m experimenting, I don’t keep notes about what I’m doing. I just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot or a pan and hope for the best. Sometimes I can’t even remember what ingredients I used by the time the meal is on the table.
Part of the reason that I am such a successful experimentalist is that most of the cooking I do is of the savory persuasion. I feel pretty confident about which spices complement one another and things like that, so savory cooking is fairly easy for me. Of course, pastries are another story. Mostly because they require measurements. Measuring stuff is too much like Math for my tastes… so I tend not to do it.
But, on this sunny October Sunday, I was compelled to do some pastry experimentation. Compelled mostly by the bushel of pears quickly reaching the end of their useful life on our counter.
I gathered up the pears and some baking ingredients and went to work, with paper and pen nearby so that I could share my experiment with the world. As I type this, I’m not even sure how this experiment turns out! It sure smells nice baking in the oven, but… we’re still a ways from Mr. Moore’s favorite part of the scientific process, the taste test.
(You’re entering an internet time warp)
Wow! The cake-pie came out great! My record is unbroken. Mr. Moore liked the cake-pie so much he went back for a second “skinny” piece. If you’re wondering why I called it a cake-pie, it’s because I originally set out to make a pie… but then decided to make a cake, after I’d already made an almond pie crust. It was a happy decision because we got the crunchy bottom of pie and the spongy middle of cake. So good… check it out for yourself:
Pre-heat oven to 375.
- 4 tbsp butter (melted)
- 1 c finely chopped almonds
Combine and spread across bottom and sides of a pie dish.
- 6 pears, diced
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider rum (I still have some left from Christmas… you can use regular rum, or even white wine… probably. Maybe even juice, who knows… experiment!)
- 1/2 c sugar
Combine ingredients and set aside. Put the pear mixture in a strainer over a small bowl to catch the liquid that drips off, rub your spatula over the pears to get some of the mushy bits through the strainer. Reserve the liquid.
- 1 1/2 c flour
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c ground almonds
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs
- liquid from the pears (should be about 3/4 c)
Combine dry ingredients, sift to make sure you have no clumps. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry, stir until combined. Fold in half of your pear mixture. Don’t mix it together, just fold it in gently.
Pour the cake mixture into your pie crust (it should come just to the top of a deep pie dish). Top with the remaining pear mixture.
Put the cake-pie into the oven for 1 hour.
While you’re waiting for the dinger… go take some photos of your husband chopping wood. Write a blog. (optional)
After 1 hour, check for doneness with a toothpick, when it’s all done, it should look something like this:
We let it cool before eating, which I recommend. The wetness from the pear topping makes it super moist in the middle, and it would probably be a bit messy while still warm. On the other hand, there’s noting like warm, messy cake-pie with a big ol’ scoop of vanilla ice cream, so… go nuts.
Mr. Moore gives this experimental recipe a “lick the bowl” rating!