Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Asian Pear and Ricotta Coffee Cake

Are you a fan of Asian pears? Personally, I can't get enough of them - super juicy, with a crispness and flavour unlike anything else in the fruit family, in my book they have long outrun the apples they're most commonly compared to. Not only do they make for delicious out-of-hand snacks, but I've come to realize that they make awesome fruits for baking. I've been able to use them in recipes calling for pears (obviously), but also apples and any other firm fruit. Apple pies or crisps, for instance, become a little more interesting with the addition of an Asian pear to the bowl of standard apples, and while sauce and butter take longer to make (they hold their shape exceedingly well), the flavour is fabulous.

Asian Pear and Ricotta Coffee Cake

So when I had an excess of both my favourite fruit and homemade ricotta, I couldn't wait to try a recipe I had bookmarked for ages - Uni Homemaker's Pear Ricotta Coffee Cake. Obviously, I swapped the fruit, but I also used spelt flour and flaxseed for a little nutrition. Because I wanted the tangy ricotta and tender pears to shine through, I also nixed the streusel - a move that the coffee cake lover in me declared as sacrilege, but in the end resulted in exactly what I was looking for! Although it's not a calorie- or fat-friendly dessert (I was using whole milk, butter and full fat ricotta!), it has a light enough feel to make it perfect for a weeknight dessert or an addition to a Sunday brunch.

The cake doesn't rise very high, and as you can see isn't winning any beauty pageants - but when something packs the flavour and texture this does, eating with the eyes really does come second in importance!

Ricotta Cake with Asian Pears

Asian Pear and Ricotta Coffee Cake
Makes one cake, 12 pieces
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup hot water
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese (I used Richer Ricotta)
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup flour
½ cup spelt (or whole wheat) flour
½ cup sugar
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt
1 large Asian pear, peeled and chopped 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease a 9” pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flaxseed and hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat in the butter, ricotta, milk and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Stir in the flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt, then fold in the Asian pear.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely in the pan.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 204.3
Total Fat: 10.8 g
Cholesterol: 30.6 mg
Sodium: 142.4 mg
Total Carbs: 21.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 4.4 g