Brown butter & pear crumble coffee cake
I’ve had pear crumble on the brain recently, what with my new marshmallow company (!!), and the recent glut of apples and pears appearing in the shops. Crumbles have always been one of my favourite puddings, and my mother used to stew big batches of apples and blackberries every year to freeze for a quick route to crumble. Crumbles have now given way to healthy dishes of warm berries and yoghurt, but it’s not quite the same without that stodgy layer of sugary dough soaked in fruit juice.
I’ve got a pretty serious cookbook addiction (they’re piled up on shelves, on the floor, on coffee tables) and I’ve made hardly anything from them. I just like having them! Knowing that I could make something from them, if I wanted to. One of my new purchases is the Ovenly cookbook, which has been on my Amazon wishlist for over a year (hint hint to my family). It’s filled with recipes for the Ovenly bakery in New York, and their vegan cookies have been calling out to me. First up however, was their crumb cake recipe, with a couple of twists.
Brown Butter & Pear Crumble Coffee Cake
(Adapted from Ovenly; Sweet and salty recipes from New York’s most creative bakery)
Makes one 9x9 inch cake baked in a brownie pan
4 pears, peeled and diced
1/2 cup/3.5oz light brown sugar
1/2 cup/120ml apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup/120ml apple juice or water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp brandy or rum (optional)
Pinch of salt
Brown butter coffee cake
1/2 cup/4 oz unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups/7.8oz plain flour
1 cup/7.5oz brown sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup/120ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp/1 oz unsalted butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup speculoos crumbs (made from around 5 Lotus biscuits blitzed into a fine powder) or use a full 1/2 cup plain flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
First step, place all the ingredients for the pear filling in a saucepan over a low-medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the pear has collapsed into mush, around 15-20 mins.
Make the crumble by melting the butter over a low-medium heat until it browns slightly and gives off a nutty aroma, then leave it to cool in a small bowl (if you leave it in the saucepan it will continue to cook until burnt). In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients and then add the melted butter and combine with a fork until it forms crumbs and bigger clumps. Pop this in the fridge to chill while you make the cake, and preheat the oven to 175C.
For the cake, start off by browning the butter again over a low-medium heat until nutty then leave to cool. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, and then in another larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk or yoghurt, vanilla extract and melted butter until smooth.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches, folding them in and being careful not to overmix.
Pour half the mix into the greased and lined pan, then pour over around a cup of the pear filling, until there is a rough 1cm layer of filling. Spoon and spread the remaining cake mix over the top of this, and then top with the chilled crumble.
Bake for 45-50 mins, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cut into squares or into slices!