It’s a one-bowl, few ingredients, low sugar, cake based on the classic Apple Sharlotka. It’s a tried and true recipe I learned from another cookbook and have been making with my heirloom apples. The trouble with pears, is that they all ripen at the same time and after eating most of a five-pound bag, I had four leftovers. The proof of a truly good recipe is that it is interchangeable and with this Pear Sharlotka, it is even improved.
You can make it with almond flour for a gluten-free version, and add almond extract for heightened flavor. The only special equipment you’ll need is a small round of parchment paper and a a 9-inch spring form pan.
1 tablespoon butter, for greasing the pan
4 large tart, firm pears
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour or almond flour (gluten free)
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut out a parchment paper circle the same size as the base, and lightly butter. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan, line it with the parchment circle.
Core and slice the pears into quarter about 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Skin can be left if preferred. It adds a nice touch of pink the finished cake.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until thick and ribbony, about 5 minutes. Beat in the almond extract and cinnamon.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, gradually sift a third of the flour into the egg mixture, then gently fold with a spatula until just combined and no flour streaks remain. Repeat twice with the remaining flour. The batter will be very thick.
Place half the pears in an even, compact layer on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half the batter and use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly over the apples. Repeat with the remaining apples and batter. Gently rap the pan a few times against the counter to get rid of air bubbles, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out free of batter and the top of sharlotka is golden brown.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently run a butter knife around the perimeter of the cake to loosen and carefully remove the sides of the pan. Using a fish spatula, gently transfer the cake to a serving platter and let cool completely.
When ready to serve, dust the sharlotka with the powdered sugar and cut into slice.