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Portable food – pear and almond cake

November 22, 2010

Pear and almond cake

Now the weather has cooled down here in Dubai, everyone heads for the beach, the park or the desert on the weekend.  In this multi-cultural society it is fascinating to see how much food everyone brings and how they bring it.  I have often seen people hauling huge vats (this is an under-statement) of rice over the railings at Safa Park and long skewers of meat are barbecued on the grills that line the perimeter of the park.

Our family and a group of friends went out to the desert to camp for one night. While proper cooking is reserved for breakfast (bacon, eggs, sausages on the camp stove), it makes sense to take portable food for the evening feast.  I made a big batch of baked potatoes which I halved, mashed the insides with spring onions, sour cream, cheddar and lots of black pepper and sealed into foil parcels.  These were heated in the embers of the fire to accompany pots of chilli con carne (and chilli con vegetables).

Camping in the desert

Yes, we did have a martini bar in the desert!

Portable pudding is usually best in cake form, but something moistly redolent of a dessert, so baking with fruit is ideal.  I made some fudgy chocolate brownies for the children and they topped up their sugar excess with smores (marshmallows toasted and then sandwiched with chocolate digestives).  I prefer a traditional spicy fruit cake or a one with fresh fruit  like this pear and almond cake which is really simple to make.  If there is some left over you can eat it for breakfast too.

If you like the sound of this, take a look at Passionate About Baking where Deeba is hosting the Monthly Mingle (brainchild of Meeta from What’s for lunch honey). There will be a host of recipes using apples, pears and all kinds of ‘Fruit in Baking’.

Pear and almond cake

Pear and almond cake


550 – 600g (1lb 3oz) pears, peeled, cored and cut into very small pieces

50g (2oz) ground almonds

175g (6oz) softened butter

175g (60z) caster sugar

3 large eggs

175g self-raising flour

zest and juice of 1 lemon

A few drops to 1/2 teaspoon almond essence (use less if you grind your almonds freshly)

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line a 20 cm (8 inch) cake tine with baking parchment.

Put all the ingredients except the chopped pear, into the bowl of a food processor or mixer.  Process or mix with the paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Spoon half the cake mixture into the tin and level.  Scatter half the chopped pear evenly over the surface. Repeat with the remaining cake mix and top with pear.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown on top, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes (it will shrink from the sides) then turn out to cool on a rack (unless you are taking to a picnic, leave in the tin and cut into slices once there).  Sift a light dusting of icing sugar over the top if you like.  You could serve with creme fraiche mixed with a little Eau-de-vie de poire William or Amaretto and some sifted icing sugar.

What’s your favourite food on the move?

  1. November 22, 2010 3:27 pm

    Ooooh I love this Sally. Seems prefect for the picnic..and sounds so delish! I love the ground almonds in there, like a hint of frangipane. Thanks so much for joining the Mingle. Lovely to have you here!

    • November 22, 2010 3:33 pm

      Thanks Deeba. Can’t wait to see what everyone else has baked.

  2. November 22, 2010 4:22 pm

    Absolutely heavenly! Not sure what my favourite food on the move would be though – I am just a lover of food!
    🙂 Mandy

  3. November 23, 2010 6:50 am

    I love pear cake; great idea to add almonds to the batter!

    • November 23, 2010 7:07 am

      It would be nice with some slivered almonds on top too.

  4. November 23, 2010 8:12 pm

    Pear and almonds is a brilliant combination!!! Love the take-away idea of this cake!!

  5. November 25, 2010 8:03 am

    what a wonderful simple cake! This is my favourite combination!

  6. November 25, 2010 8:15 pm

    Hi sally, thanks for stopping by my place and for ur lovely comment. You have a great space in here too….I can see that u r in dubai….I am just coming over there next week…will be there for couple of months…:)

    • November 26, 2010 1:08 am

      Shabs – check out our Dubai food blogger group on Facebook – Famished in Arabia or drop me a line sallypro1 (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk if you want to join one of our foodie get togethers.

  7. November 25, 2010 11:28 pm

    Love the picnic idea and addition of lemon zest there, sounds yum! and thanks for stopping by my blog and for ur kind words of appreciation 🙂

  8. November 26, 2010 7:53 am

    delightful flavours, on the move….
    looks like you guys had a blast 🙂

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts – Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  9. November 26, 2010 10:51 am

    That looks lovely. My favourite food on the move is sushi! 😀

    • November 26, 2010 12:49 pm

      That’s a great idea Lorraine. It’s on my ‘to do’ list to learn to make sushi.

  10. November 26, 2010 1:29 pm

    Well this cake looks so lovely I doubt it would need icing for your daughter to eat it…? Nice to meet you, thanks to the Mingle ^_^

  11. November 26, 2010 4:26 pm

    Hi Sally,
    It is such a pleasure when someone new drops by your site and you visit them and find you can relate to them. Great believer in picnics and never miss a chance and love preparing portable picnic foods. My favorites are wraps and steamed stuff. In India back in my grandmothers day, the older generation never ate food outside their homes, so they would pack for train journeys and eat, idli, parathas, fried snacks sometimes over a 2 day train journey!

    • November 28, 2010 7:36 am

      Sandhay – I’m sure some of that scale of catering still goes on here by the look of the picnics! It was a pleasure to visit your site too and I’ll be coming back for inspiration for my vegetarian daughter.

  12. November 26, 2010 10:56 pm

    Wow, I think I’m a fan of this “Mingle” already!! What a great way to know such great bloggers and foodies like yourself! Thanks for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours. Love you space and looking fwd to seeing around 🙂

  13. November 27, 2010 12:17 am

    this looks so lovely:) i really want to make this soon. thanks for sharing it. enjoy the weekend.

  14. November 27, 2010 10:43 am


    Lovely cake dear…going to subscribe…:)


  15. November 27, 2010 2:51 pm

    What a fun camp out! Cake is very good “on the move food” 🙂 I often do potatoes too when camping, they taste so much better roasted on the embers. Thanks for dropping by my blog, glad I came by yours.

    • November 28, 2010 7:30 am

      Prerna and Shaz – thanks for the nice comments and great to meet you through the mingle too.

  16. November 27, 2010 8:12 pm

    Wow Awesome pictures and gorgeous cake.


  17. November 28, 2010 1:53 am

    Sally, this pear and almond cake look beautiful and is absolutely the kind of cake I love – definitely on my must try list. It is so interesting hearing about your life in Dubai – I love when you say “now the weather has cooled down … everyone heads to the beach” ( I totally get why); down here, we start to head to the beach when the weather has warmed up.

    Popular “foods on the move” down here are bacon and egg pie and scotch eggs.

    Sue 🙂

  18. November 29, 2010 9:57 am

    Now I must confess, the very reason my blog is named Split PEARsonality was because of a pear cake that I baked years ago and that I could never erase from my mind! this is starting to look a whole lot familiar =)
    Thanks for stopping by…..

    • November 30, 2010 8:45 am

      Love your blog title – made me chuckle!

  19. December 2, 2010 9:02 pm

    Last year for our Christmas Camp-Out we made deep-fried turkey. Make a hole in the ground about 1.5ft deep and wide enough to accommodate your pot. Make a layered fire with wood and charcoal, and let it burn until glowing. Put the turkey (giblets out) in the pot and cover with oil. Cook (oil boiling) for 3minutes per pound. Check with meat thermometer should be 170°F in breast and 180°F in thigh.

    We used a syringe to pre-inject marinade but to be honest by the time we ate I was three sheets to the wind and I only remember that it was very tender and tasty 🙂

    Remember to leave something in the turkey that you can use to pull it out of the oil. We used a coat-hanger and a stick – loop it through the turkey and use it to lower the beast into the pot.

    • December 3, 2010 9:12 am

      This is very adventurous outdoor cooking. It would be great fun to cook a turkey in the desert – thanks for sharing this method.

  20. December 4, 2010 4:11 am

    love the fruits and the almond and the zest. has to be a perfect cake!

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