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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spiced Pear Pound Cake with a Cranberry Glaze Recipe

Spiced pear pound cake with a cranberry glaze makes a wonderful dessert during the fall season.

I'm a pound cake fan, always have been.  I like light and fluffy cakes too, but I really love the dense smooth texture and the rich taste of a good pound cake.   Because of that, I try to come up with recipes that take the cake to another level.  This is definitely one of those recipes.

I was in the grocery store the other day and pears were on sale.  They looked so enticing so I bought a bunch of them.  I had been toying with a pear pound cake for a while and these pears, along with the cool temperatures that make me want to bake, helped me make up my mind.

Like pears, spice cakes remind me of the fall season.  Days get cooler, leaves start turning colors and meals become a little bit heartier.  The warm smells of cinnamon and spice welcome people home during the fall and winter months.

Wanting to combine my love of pound cake, pears and spices, I came up with this Spiced Pear Pound Cake recipe.  I added a cranberry glaze which gives the cake a nice fruity tang.  The result is a fruity, dense pound cake with a mild spice flavor that doesn't overpower the pears or the tastebuds.

After making this cake just one time, I have decided that it just might be my favorite pound cake recipe.  Not only does it taste amazing, the house smells deliciously spicy when it's baking.  It's a hit with my family too, so that is an extra bonus.

I think you'll like it too.  You'll find the recipe following the step by step photos.




Ingredients needed:

Everything you'll need to make this delicious pound cake.

Step 1 - Combine the wet ingredients, including the sugars

Cream the sugars and other wet ingredients until well combined, approximately 4 minutes on the high setting.

 Step 2 - The mixture after the wet ingredients have been mixed


 Step 3 - Add the dry ingredients and milk and the mixture looks like this

Here is the batter completely mixed.  Look at the spices throughout the mixture.

Step 4 - Gently fold in the pears

Gently fold the pears into the batter.

Step 5 - Spoon into the prepared cake pan

Ready for the oven, the batter has been evenly placed in a well prepared cake pan.

Spiced Pear Pound Cake with a Cranberry Glaze Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups pears (not too ripe), peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces, don't used canned pears for this recipe
  • 1 can jellied cranberry sauce
Instructions:
  1. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan or angel food tube pan.  This makes a large cake.
  2. Cream sugars, butter, vanilla and eggs.  Begin on low speed until mixed and then on high for about 4 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt.
  4. After the wet ingredients are mixed, set the blender on low and add the flour mixture and milk, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  
  5. Gently fold in the pears.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly.
  7. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a toothpick put in the center comes out cleanly.  If you are using a dark pan or if you oven temperature runs high, set it to 325°.  Check the cake after about an hour to make sure it doesn't over bake.
  8. Remove from oven and put pan on a cake rack.  Let sit for 15 minutes.
  9. Then turn out the cake onto the cake rack and let it cool completely.
For the glaze: 

Put one can of jellied cranberry sauce in a small sauce pan and heat over a low temperature.  Add water until you get the desired consistency.  I added about 5 tablespoons.  Once the cake is completely cool and you are ready to serve, spoon the cranberry glaze on top.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this sweet treat!



If you don't like canned sauce you can leave it off, or you can make your own with this delicious homemade spiced cranberry sauce recipe found HERE.

Homemade spiced cranberry sauce is oh so good.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chinese Restaurant-Style Duck Sauce Recipe

It was always a special treat to go to our local Chinese restaurant when I was growing up.  I remember entering the dark room and being fascinated by the exotic decor that adorned the walls.  Hanging from the ceiling were beautiful red silk lanterns that shimmered with gold fringe. The walls were covered with a lush red velvety textured paper, and the booths were big and plush, perfect for sinking into.

I moved away years ago and, sadly, the restaurant was gone long before that.  There's a huge impersonal multiplex theater where it once stood.

It was in that Chinese restaurant that I developed my fondness for Chinese food.  To this day I think that they had the best Mongolian Pork, and it's still my go to choice when we go out for Chinese.  I also usually start my meal with a bowl of steaming hot and sour soup accompanied by some wonton crackers and duck sauce.


I can go through a whole bowl of that lovely sweet sauce with it's slight tang.  I dip egg rolls in it and slather it on my crab rangoon.  My daughter likes putting the sauce on her rice instead of soy sauce.

The other day I made a fried rice dish and used some duck sauce from plastic packets that we had saved from a takeout dinner. The sauce didn't taste like much at all except for the plastic flavor from the packet.  It was pretty sad.  So I decided to play around and make my own.  To my surprise it turned out quite nicely.


The recipe really isn't that hard.  The flavor is more intense than restaurant duck sauce and it has a  really nice zing.  It's also super simple to make and only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.

Here's everything you need to know to make your own restaurant-style duck sauce.  The recipe can be found following the photos.

Ingredients

All the ingredients you'll need to make this tasty duck sauce.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.

Push mixture through a sieve

Pass the mixture through a sieve.

Chinese Restaurant-Style Duck Sauce Recipe
Makes 1/2 cup of sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 splash soy sauce (optional)
Directions
  1. In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until smooth.  There will be larger pieces of apricot from the jam.
  2. Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a small bowl.  Use the back of a spatula to push the sauce through.  Discard the mixture that does not pass through the sieve.
  3. Serve as desired.  Refrigerate any leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to a week.
Enjoy!