I probably have mentioned a few times already that I do not “do” fancy desserts and therefore do not consider myself a “baker”. It isn’t that I CAN’T make some great multilayered dessert extravaganza, but I just do not have the patience to measure everything to the exact gram, and fiddle with ganache frostings, cream fillings and the such. Also, I guess I also should admit that when I am in the kitchen I almost always have two, three, even four things on the go at the same time, which works okay unless one of those things is a fussy dessert recipe that takes all of my attention. You can ignore a soup simmering away or sauce on the stove and even forget about bread proofing in the sunlight (for a while anyway) but forget you have a tart base that is in the oven for a few minutes more than it needs to bake and you have a disaster on your hands.
Which is why I LOVE desserts like this one! I have been searching for a fruit tart recipe that included a frangipane (fancy name for almond) filling for a while and in fact clipped a few that looked interesting but most were multi-stepped concoctions that would require me to actually focus on that one recipe for longer than I prefer. I therefore started to look for easier recipes that would still give me what I was after and found this recipe for Plum Almond Cake. I adapted the recipe a bit but it really is a super easy recipe that just really works. There is no “crust” as the batter creates it’s own and the filling is light, deliciously almond flavored and best of all for me anyways, not too sweet. Since it is fall and I always seem to have pears on hand I used pears in my version of this recipe, but you really could use just about any fresh stone fruit you prefer. I poached the pears (see below) to ensure they would tender before adding them to my cake, but if you used other smaller, softer fruit, you can ignore this step. I found this cake works great in a 9 inch tart pan with a removeable bottom. I used round but square would work just fine too. This dessert is pretty enough to serve as a dessert, but light enough to enjoy at breakfast or as a mid-morning snack with a cappuccino.
by Deborah Mele
5 Large Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Almond Flour (Or Similar In Finely Ground Almonds)
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Melted Butter, Cooled
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract or Amaretto Liqueur
2 Large Ripe Pears, Poached (See Note Below)
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter your 9 inch tart pan. In a large bowl beat together the egg whites and sugar until very thick and light. Fold in both the flours first just until combined, then add the melted butter. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and arrange your fruit on top. Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Poached Pears: Cut the pears in half and scoop out the core/seeds. Peel the pears and place in a pot cut side down. Add one cinnamon stick and half a cup of sugar and then cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Once the pears are fork tender remove from the liquid and allow to cool. To cut the pears for the cake, cut off the longer thin stem end and slice the pears in 1/4 inch slices. Arrange the pears slices in a circular manner on top of the cake as shown in the photo.