~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pecan-Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake


Pecan-Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake... I am back from my 3 week vacation...visiting family and friends....as well as Spain. We had a fun and relaxing vacation. Madrid was beautiful and very clean. The food was incredibly delicious...it quite exceeded my expectation. We found ourselves thoroughly enjoying the hot and cold tapas~(the sardines(deep-fried or marinated), anchovies, cheeses, olives, seafood(bacalao(or cod) being a popular fish), roasted peppers, patata bravas, lamb brochettes, etc.)~ the famous paella, and the churros dipped in hot chocolate. Of course, we also enjoyed the many wonderful pastries with the delicious cafe con leche. Oh, and I could never get enough of the Jamón ibérico(similar to prosciutto, yet different)... it was so full of flavor. I left Spain inspired... who knows, you just might end up seeing some recipes in the future:).
I am glad to be home and once again cooking as well as baking. I truly missed being in my kitchen. Thank you for your comments... I enjoyed reading each one. A BIG thank you to those of you who tried some of my recipes and took the time to write your feedback. I appreciate it very much...

Autumn....the changing color of leaves...the crisp air...the aroma of baked goods....cinnamon and nutmeg...
I find myself looking forward to the fall season...I love to go walking... to get all bundled up, to feel the wind blowing, and to reflect on God's marvelous creation all around me. I know I am quite blessed to live in a state where the scenery is so calming and so full of beauty. This morning, as I was washing the breakfast dishes, I stopped a bit to watch a beautiful big buck meandering through the backyard and enjoying the big open space. I know such a view is a blessing indeed....and I never get tired of it. With fall upon us, I find myself looking forward to once again using the firewood to warm up the house and baking a fall dessert. I love the aromas that fill the house...so comforting and welcoming. It would be good to bake....
This recipe has been with me many years. It actually comes from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine clipping that I've kept since 1999! The cake was so beautifully presented, that I tucked it away in the hopes of one day making it. At the time, I had meant to make it for Thanksgiving, and yet it seemed that every year Thanksgiving came and went... But recently, as I was cleaning my "cookbook library", I ran across the recipe again. I lingered a bit as I looked at the recipe....so many years have passed since that day...I thought of the earlier years...how young I was.... and the many recipes I wanted to try. I marvel at how much I have learned since then. Plenty of recipes that failed and many that were a success...and yet, I still have so very much to learn. After seeing the recipe once more, I just felt I had to make it. Maybe for old times sake. Maybe because I still thought it looked pretty. No need to pass it up again...

The recipe was part of the LUSCIOUS TASTES OF AUTUMN section of the magazine. It was entitled~ Walnut-Pear Sour Cream Cake~. This particular cake had won first place in a cake division for a hometown cooking challenge. I was hoping it would be a winner in our household as well, so I went ahead and bought some pears. I already had some sour cream in the fridge... it would be perfect to use that up as well. I really didn't change the recipe very much...just used some pecans instead of the walnuts and added some rum extract instead of the vanilla...a last minute decision. But the rum brought in a delicious aroma/flavor, without overpowering the cinnamon/coffeecake flavor. Do feel free to add the vanilla instead...I probably would add a bit more than 1 tsp, though. Anyway, I made the cake...and LOVED it! It was so moist. The sour cream always adds that extra moistness to any cake. I love the crumb topping with the crunchy pecans as well as the thinly sliced pears. The pears were a nice addition as it brought even more moistness to the cake. And, for being a coffeecake, it was definitely not dry....especially after it has had some time to cool off. The coffeecake was just right .... with a tender and buttery crumb. Boy, am I glad I finally made it:)...Definitely looking forward to making it again as we enjoyed it very, very much. By the way, I loved how well it freezes....just wrap it up nice and tight. Hope you enjoy....

You will need:
Topping and filling:
1 cup broken pecans, this means larger pieces of pecans, rather than chopped
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour

Pear filling:
2 medium pears( about 2 cups), peeled and sliced
2 tsp lemon/lime juice

1 3/4 all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla*
2 eggs
8 oz( 1 cup) sour cream
* I used a bit more more like 2-3 tsps of rum, just because I didn't use a measuring tsp and sort of just poured it out of the bottle... and added a bit more than I intended:)

Optional~ extra topping:*(see below)
1/2 cup broken pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degs.
Grease a 9 inch springform pan or even a 9x9x2 baking pan. Set aside.

Filling and Topping:
Combine 1 cup nuts, brown sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside.
For the topping, cut the butter into flour to make coarse crumbs. Stir in 3/4 cup of the nut mixture.
Set remainder of the nut mixture aside, as well as the topping.

Pear Filling:
Toss pears with lemon juice/lime juice and set aside.

Prepare the Cake:
In a bowl, combine the 1 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside
In a large mixing bowl. using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter for 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and vanilla( or other flavoring of choice). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter, beating on low speed, after each addition...until combined.
Spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with nut mixture that was reserved earlier. Layer the pears over the nut mixture. Gently spread the remaining cake batter over the pears. Sprinkle with the reserved topping.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from springform pan and cool at least 1 hour. Serve warm. This freezes well...

*If you want a nuttier topping, add an additional 1/2 cup pecans after 10 minutes of baking time and continue to bake an additional 45-50 minutes...or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Jennifurla said...

OMG deep fried sardines, love! I would also love some of this cake.

Mihaela said...

Welcome back, it sounded that you had a wonderful vacation :) The cake look so nice, but I'm trying to cut the sugar a little until Christmas.. it doesn't really work though...

Ellie said...

Jennifurla, Yes, my first time eating deep-fried sardines...they were incredibly good:)!

Mihaela, Thank you...it's good to be back home. I love to freeze most of my sweets...this way we don't eat too much:). It also helps if you place the sweets in the back of the freezer:)...

Anneliese said...

This looks really good. It reminds me of on e I make with applesauce instead of pears.. I like this idea.
You have a great blog here!

Ellie said...

Anneliese...Thank you.I love the idea of using apple sauce...especially chunkier homemade version:).