This is the time of the year when I only want to see, taste and create comfort recipes. I cannot think of a better way to beat the winter blues of the short rainy days that London offers. This Pears cake with Cranberry juice is the perfect answer! Easy, delicious and beautiful. A visual nourishment, a reminiscence of my sweet childhood Christmases.
I have such special memories of Christmas and Avent, as the cosiest and nourishing moment of the year. My family would gather and cook together and create a feast from scratch, with all the special products that were not affordable during the year. That time, there were still a lot of very expensive ingredients considered for celebrations only (not to mention how far these ingredients needed to travel too). And those include many that we now eat regularly. Dates, pineapple, cashew...
But, I still believe some foods should remain for special occasions, that we should be dreaming of them until our birthday, or Christmas day. We should be preparing them with devotion and eat with enthusiasm. In fact, I started this blog, to answer my need to fill celebration with beautiful cakes that were still vegan and healthy, however, curated as proper, while my day to day diet remains light.
So, for once, I decided to create a recipe that is still an absolute a showstopper, however, made with the simplest and most seasonal ingredients. I have also decorated it alike, with just a touch of colour, no frosting or fillings.
In addition, I used a miso that has all the qualities I love in my ingredients. It's alive, locally produced and a feast for the senses. Miso caramel is not a novelty, but I cannot find it ever redundant in a recipe. Furthermore, miso makes every food more deep in taste and far more rich with the umami.
Miso is a traditional fermented ingredient from the Japanese cuisine, it was revered by Japanese! Miso differentiates itself from any other food, being one of the richest in probiotics. It has healing properties for the digestive system, is mineral rich, gluten-free, and absolutely vegan from the begin to the end!
There is a vastity of different miso, some are traditional some other are more recent interpretations, every miso is slightly different in taste and nutrients and adapts better to different recipes. My children love the Fresh Soya Free miso. My favourite of all is the Fresh Red miso and the Fresh Saikyo White, newest addition. I love to have few different types in my fridge to enrich our everyday cooking experience.
For this cake, I preferred to use the Fresh Hatcho miso, which one of the oldest miso, a real powerhouse of proteins and probiotics. Its taste is strong & salty and well stands against the sweetness of the caramel.
For this recipe, you need: a medium loaf tin, small saucepan and a large bowl
For the cake:
200 g white unbleached flour
100 g wholemeal flour (or use only 300 gr white if you prefer)
80 g coconut sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 Tbsp flax meal +6 tbsp water
180 ml extra virgin olive oil
120 ml water
dash of almond extract
2-3 medium pears, just ripe but not soft
Cranberry pure juice, enough to roll the pears in. ( I use Abate Pears)
For the oil-free caramel
4 Tbsp coconut or raw sugar of your choice
1 Tbsp plant milk room temperature
1/2 Tbsp or more Hatcho Miso
- Turn the oven on at 180°C. Grease the loaf tin with olive oil.
- Wash and peel the pears. Then core them: with a small sharp knife remove the bottom part and the seeds creating a small narrow cone inside the fruits.
- In a small saucepan bring to heat the cranberry juice. Switch off and roll the pears in the juice until are deep red ( you can also use beet juice). Set aside
- Mix the 2 Tbsp of flax seeds with the 6 spoons of water in a small glass. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
- In a jar also mix the liquid ingredients together.
- Incorporate the flax seeds and the liquid ingredients in the dry and gently fold them together.
- Pass the batter into the loaf tin. Immerse the 3 pears into the batter at equal distance.
- Place the tin on the lowest rack of the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes depending how much moisture your pears produce.
Meanwhile the cake cooks, melt the 4 Tbsp of sugar in a small saucepan on a low flame. When it starts burning gently add the milk, be careful it will splash, and whisk until combined. Turn off the fire and after few minutes incorporate the miso, tasting for quantity.
Enjoy this pear cake tepid or room temperature with a pour of the Miso caramel sauce.