People following a gluten free diet often lament the absence of desserts, especially cakes. Here is a simple recipe that is not only gluten-free but dairy free as well.
Pears and almonds have a natural affinity for one another making them the perfect flavor combination for a gluten free cake. Pears are high in fiber, sodium, fat, and cholesterol free and an excellent of vitamin C which means eating this delicious cake is actually good for you!
The pears in this recipe are chopped, cooked briefly in the microwave and pureed with a fork to make a sort of pear sauce. The pear sauce adds not only flavor but gives this cake a rich, buttery texture which is surprising considering the total lack of butter or butter substitutes.
The use of almond flour makes this cake not only gluten free but grain free as well. Many people have discovered the advantages of a grain free diet in healing the small intestine after discovering they have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. The use of almond flour instead of wheat flour also makes this a particularly good cake for Passover.
Whether you follow a gluten free diet or not, the one thing that everyone agrees with is that this cake is absolutely delicious!
Pear Almond Cake
4 ripe but firm Pears- use divided
1 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar - use divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups finely ground blanched almond meal
8 large eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - use divided
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon grapeseed (or other neutral tasting) oil
cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 or 10 inch springform panwith gluten-free non-stick cooking spray. Cut a circle of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan, place in the pan and spray it lightly with more cooking spray.
Peel and core the pears. Chop three of the pears roughly and slice the fourth into about inch slices. Take the chopped pears and put in a small, microwavable bowl with the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Cover and microwave on high power for 4 minutes. (Alternatively you can cook on the stove for 10 minutes over medium heat in a covered saucepan.) Mash the pears into a coarse puree with a fork or wooden spoon. Let cool.
Put the almond meal and 1 cups of sugar in a food processorand give it 4 or 5 long pulses. Add the eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the cooked pears and puree the mixture. Pour into the prepared pan.
In a small skillet, heat the agave or honey with the oil, stirring to mix until the mixture starts to bubble. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Add the pear slices and toss gently to coat.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top of the cake. Add the pear slices in a spoke configuration and spoon the agave or honey/oil mixture over the top of the cake.
Bake for 45 - 55 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check the cake after about 35 minutes, if it browning too much, place a piece of foil over the top.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove the sides of the pan and transfer to a serving platter (removing the parchment is optional but recommended). The cake is best served slightly warm.
Makes 12 slices.
Carol Kicinski is a gluten-free food writer, recipe developer, and television chef. She is the author of the upcoming cook book "Simply...Gluten-free Desserts" and has a monthly gluten-free cooking segment on the nationally syndicated morning show "Daytime".
For more gluten-free recipes visit her blog at http://simplygluten-free.blogspot.com/
She also produces high a pastry quality gluten free flour http://simplygluten-free.blogspot.com/p/flour.html