Thank goodness Pear & Apple Coffee Cake is only a title, as associating today’s entry with coffee besmirches a fine dessert. Truth is, this would be just right with a glass of milk, and is wonderful by itself too. “Coffee Cake” merely is the name given to a whole range of crumbly sweets, no particular beverage required. No sir.
After all, the cake is loaded, nearly to saturation, with nice pieces of apples and pears, Granny Smith and Bosc respectively, that make this moist dessert even more succulent. While this would be an ideal post-dinner evening treat, for many it really shines (as it were) in the morning, a charming way to rouse the taste buds. Even among those who insist on consuming it with a drink this journal doesn’t deign to mention.
Either way, dessert or breakfast, the recipe is good enough to inspire an article in the September/October 2018 AllRecipes magazine. Best of all, the idea, at least this particular incarnation of it, comes from a reader in suburban Chicago, a happy slice of Earth the author once called “home.” Really, Pear & Apple Cake, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off…how does one area get so lucky?
Anyway, the cake is sublime, giving tasters something they haven’t enjoyed in, it seems like forever – sweet, juicy fruit. Let’s not forget the topping, though. A crumbly combination of cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts adds warm spice and a little bit of crunch to the sweet, tender cake below. It’s like a cinnamon roll loaded with walnuts, pears and apples.
It’s a scrumptious mixture, good for a sweet uplift at any time of day. If enjoyed in the morning, please, don’t take the “coffee” part literally. It’s merely a suggestion, and not a very good one at that. Still, if there’s one thing that would make coffee drinkable, perhaps even tolerable, it’s Apple & Pear Cake.
Pear & Apple Coffee Cake
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, unsalted butter softened and divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Disaronno, optional (*1)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped (*2)
- 1 medium pear, peeled and finely chopped (*2)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of the butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the creamed butter, mixing at low speed until incorporated. Add half the sour cream, again, mixing it in at low speed. Repeat with the last half of the flour mixture and the rest of the sour cream.
Detach the paddle from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, scrape any excess batter back into the mixing bowl. Remove the mixing bowl and, with the same rubber spatula, fold in the apples and the pears. Scrape batter into the baking pan you prepared, using the spatula to smooth to an even thickness.
Next, make the topping. In a small bowl, use a fork (*3) to combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the walnuts. Sprinkle this evenly over the batter. Cook for 35 minutes, then cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
1 – Optional, but it does add a nice hint of almonds, and it keeps everything moist.
2 – As mentioned in the text above, coupling a sweet variety of pear (Bosc) with a tart apple (Granny Smith) is a nice combination. Moreover, a coarse chop, just short of a cubing, preserves more of the fruits’ identity.
3 – The recipe suggests using a fork, but really, your fingers are the best tool for the job.