"This has to be one of the ultimate quick-cook cakes around. Although the typical puff pastry version with rich, buttery caramel is simply irresistible on a fruit tatin, this version gives it a good run for its money."
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
- 2 firm but ripe pears
- ½ cup (65 g) buckwheat flour
- ½ cup (75 g) spelt or wholemeal plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup (110 g) caster sugar, or ½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup (185 ml) milk of your choice; I use ‘drinking’ coconut milk
- 50 g butter, melted, or 2 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- Salted caramel (recipe below), or maple syrup to serve
- 12 pitted dates | 270 ml tin coconut cream | ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Using a stick blender or small blender, process ingredients until smooth. Add to a small saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, for 10 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Warm the oil in a 22 cm ovenproof frying pan over medium heat and swirl the pan so the oil coats the base. Remove from the heat.
- Peel the pears, cut them lengthways into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each pear quarter into two or three slices, depending on the size of the pears. Arrange the pears around the base of the pan in a flower-like arrangement.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including the sugar, if using instead of maple syrup.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla seeds or vanilla extract, and the maple syrup, if using.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Starting from the centre, whisk the wet mixture into the dry, until just combined. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- Evenly pour the batter into the pan over the pears, then place over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the batter is starting to sizzle and bubble.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the caramel sauce until warm.
- Using a silicon spatula or something similar, gently check to see if the cake will easily come away from the pan. If it doesn’t, you will gently need to lift around the base of the pan with the spatula to help release it.
- Place a serving platter upside down on top of the pan, in the centre, then carefully invert the cake onto the platter. Drizzle with the caramel sauce to serve. I like to serve the pear tatin warm, but it is also good cold.
- It’s best to use a cast-iron enamel or non-stick frying pan, to ensure the cake releases from the pan more easily.
- If you don’t have any salted caramel on hand, serve with maple syrup.
- To make the cake dairy free, use coconut oil instead of butter, and a non-dairy milk.
- Use gluten-free flour if you’d like to avoid gluten. Buckwheat is gluten free.
Images and Text from Three Veg and Meat by Olivia Andrews, Photography by Phu Tang, Murdoch Books RRP ‘$39.99’