My mom LOVES pecans. When she comes to visit and I happen to be baking, she never fails to ask if pecans were added to the mix. If my mother could, she would dump cups and cups of pecans into every bowl of batter. I like pecans too, but I’m not one to get too nutty over it.
During my latest visit to NYC, I got a chance to stroll through Union Square Market. A few minutes into my walk, several tables stocked with fresh ruby cranberries quickly captured my attention. In the Czech Republic, cranberries usually appear with a dish as a sauce for fried cheese, roast duck or as dried cranberries sold in packages. I have yet to cross paths with a barrel of the fresh kind in any of the markets or major grocery stores. Although they weren’t on my grocery list, I couldn’t resist bringing a huge bag of these luscious dark red cranberries home. I did however, hold back from running my fingers through the deep baskets of berries. My 2-year-old daughters would have loved that!
On the train ride back, I started to think about what to do with so many cranberries. I wanted something easy, moist and to have on hand for breakfast. When I got to my parents’ home, my daughters were still napping, so I sneaked in some internet time. After a bit of surfing, I found a recipe that called for cranberries, pears and buttermilk. I could sense that this cake would satisfy my craving for a moist cake to go with my morning coffee.
Gathering up my baking tools and ingredients, my mom popped into the kitchen. “Are you going to bake?” she asks.
“Yep,” I replied, knowing exactly where this conversation was headed.
“Is there going to be pecans? Will it be a crunchy cake?” she asks.
“Of course, Ma,” I answered back immediately, even though I knew the original recipe didn’t include pecans. So, here’s my version inspired by my mom’s passion for pecans.
(adapted from Taste of Home)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large pear, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup of chopped pecans
In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fold in the pear, cranberries, 1/2 cup of pecans and orange peel.
Transfer to a 9-in. spring form pan coated with cooking spray and dusted with flour.
Combine brown sugar, remaining sugar and 1/2 cup of pecans.
Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.