Monday, August 06, 2007

Magazine confessions

I might as well come out and confess. I have a terrible compulsion that makes me buy magazines - food & cooking magazine - without any real intention of cooking any of the recipes being featured in them. You could say I buy these magazines in the same way that teenage boys buy girlie magazines - for the aesthetic factor. That's right, I buy them for the glossy, close-up shots of suggestively posed dishes. Whether its a glistening plate of tossed pasta with a luscious creamy sauce or close ups of juicy, ripe berries atop a delectably decadent dessert or maybe one of those stark shots of a ripened wheel of cheese with its centre cracked open for all its gooey glory to be seen by all...oh yeah, baby! Now before I'm accused of dragging down this blog to low-brow territory, please bear with me as I am going somewhere with this. My point is that ordinarily I buy food magazines for the glossy pictorials, but recently I moved beyond the shallow and decided to try out one of the recipes featured in the latest issue of delicious. I spied a recipe from Belinda Jeffery for a muscat-poached pear & almond cake and resolved to try this one out for myself.

I modified the recipe a bit though given that I was lacking a few key ingredients, using quinces instead of pears. Also because I didn't have any muscat on hand I basically poached the quince segments in a light citrusy sugar syrup with a few star anise added for a subtle flavour.


For the cake mixture: -
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup S.R. flour (or plain flour and add a tsp baking powder)
4 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (also asks for a smidge of almond essence)
200 g melted butter
icing sugar to dust

For the poached quince:-
1 large quince, peeled and quartered
1 - 2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 - 3 star anise
drop of vanilla extract


Poached quince can be prepared a day in advance if preferred. Simply, place the peeled and quartered quince segments into a saucepan with all the ingredients and simmer away for a half hour (pears will need substantially less time for poaching) until just tender. For the cake mixture, blend all the dry ingredients together in a bowl using a balloon whisk. For the rest of the ingredients beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond essence together and slowly whisk in the dry ingredients. Then add the slightly cooled melted butter and continue to whisk until well incorporated. Pour mixture into a greased cake tin lined with baking paper. Pat dry the poached quince, slice into smaller pieces and lay on the top of the cake mixture. Chuck this then in a preheated oven (@ 180 C) and bake for 1 hr, though after about 40 mins cover the top with foil to prevent the cake from catching on the top. Transfer the cake onto a cake rack and when cool lightly dust with icing sugar. The recipe recommends serving with a dollop of cream, though the amount of butter that goes into creating this ensures that the cake is rich enough to enjoy without further caloric embellishments.


  1. ooh my gawd!! your creation (and those pics) definitely belong in one of those glossy, suggestively posed mags ... if this is low-brow, then er, who needs high-brow?

  2. Hi, I made this too and did the muscat poached pears which were a standout - you must make it this way some time too

  3. I agree with Yossarian-that is one very suggestive photograph of the cake... looks and hope it tastes delish!

  4. yossarian - you're too kind, the picture in the magazine was way more droolworthy. but i agree with you, we're talking about food here who cares about high brow eh?

    ange - sounds great but i just didn't have muscat (or any other sweet wine for that matter) on hand at the time, luckily this is a fairly straightforward recipe so the odds of me trying it out again are good. i see you too are a fan of delicious magazine =D

    m's nemesis - hmmm....should our posts come with a classification rating like tv shows do? "this recipe is rated MA: it contains butter, generous dollops of cream and coarse (demerara) sugar"

  5. What a fantastic dessert. The photos are fabulous. It looks incredibly tempting!

  6. Looks great Serenity! And I'm sure it tasted just as good...

  7. the cake looks delicious! about buying food magazines, is hard to not buying them... esp those with nice and clear

  8. truffle - thanks heaps, for a relatively easy recipe there's certainly a high level of wow factor associated with the end result. i highly recommend trying this out (i hope i've got it jotted down verbatim as listed in the magazine - though i will try it again with the muscat step this week so i may have a correction to this post)

    jonno - almond meal seems to transform a mundane cake into a divine one, i think this ingredient helped makes this quite tasty. thanks! =)

    ironeaters - thanks you guys! i love your blog!!! given ange's assertion that the muscat-poaching step makes for an even better cake, i'm planning to try this again using the muscat i bought over the weekend. look for a correction to this post


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