Saturday, 27 February 2010

Pear and Marzipan Torte

This is one ugly cake! LOL! In addition, the lack of any variation of colour has made it very difficult to photograph. It is an adaptation of a recipe given by a poster on the BBC Food Messageboards, which originally used plums. She wrote that the recipe originally came from the Good Housekeeping (50th Anniversary Edition) Cookbook, and was called Plum and Marzipan Kuchen.

The basics of the recipe are a shortcake/scone-like dough base, a layer of marzipan, a layer of fruit and a streusel topping. From the description given by the original poster, I expected the results to be slightly different - she described the base and marzipan puffing up around the fruit, and the top becoming golden and crunchy. This just didn't happen for me! Part of the problem might have been my misreading of the instructions - I just mixed the egg into the dough ingredients instead of beating it in, which might have made it more cakey in texture. There wasn't much juice from the fruit either, so the final torte was on the dry side - it really needed the accompanying whipped chantilly cream to help it down.

160g SR flour
125g butter
finely grated zest of two lemons
50g light muscovado sugar
50g ground almonds
1 large egg
175g marzipan - I used golden but white might be better.
25g flaked almonds - crushed slightly between your fingers to break up the flakes a bit
3 large ripe pears - such as Williams or Comice


Preheat the oven to 180C and line the base of a 9"(23cm) diameter springform or loose-based tin with baking paper or silicone sheet.

Rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the lemon zest, sugar and ground almonds. Weigh 50g of this mixture into a small bowl and add the flaked almonds.

Beat the egg into the large portion of flour mix, then spread the resulting dough into an even layer in the base of the prepared tin.

Roll the marzipan into a circle slightly smaller than the tin and place it on the dough base. Peel, core and slice each pear into 8 pieces, and arrange neatly on the marzipan.

Sprinkle the set aside streusel and almond mix evenly over the fruit, then bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the base layer is fully cooked (I tested with a probe which changed colour when the cake was baked). Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing sides. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Although this wasn't unpleasant to eat, it was slightly on the dry and heavy side, and the dominant flavour was the lemon zest in the dough, rather than the pears or marzipan (even though I used high quality marzipan with 60% almonds). The light streusel topping also allowed the pear slices to dry out during cooking. It wasn't a patch on the pear and almond cake I made recently; sadly, not a keeper.


Foodycat said...

It sounds like it has all the right flavours, what a shame that it was disappointing! Nice excuse to eat marzipane though.

Choclette said...

What a shame, almonds, pears and marzipan sounds like a real winner. I guess plums would have been juicer and I guess "pair up" quite well with almonds. I got a bit confused about the strudel topping bit as you didn't say what that is - or I've missed it.

Suelle said...

Foodycat - The best part of using some marzipan in this dessert was what was left after 175g was weighed out; not enough to keep for anything else!

Hi Choclette. If you re-read paragraph 2 of the method, you will see that some of the base mixture is set aside before the egg is added. This makes the streusel (or crumble) topping.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

It's funny - my family will happily eat almonds and cakes with ground almonds, but they can't stand marzipan. Odd, I know, since marzipan is basically the same thing..

I don't think it's that ugly! :)

Suelle said...

Celia - there's no need to be kind about the cake. I can take the truth! ;-)

My children used to like marzipan but not icing/frostings, so all their birthday cakes were covered in coloured marzipan.

Battenburg cake is one of my son's favourite bought cakes (too fiddly to bother making), and I often use a thin circle of marzipan to fill a chocolate layer cake.

Choclette said...

Thanks Suelle - got it now.