Hearty dessert for cold days

Don’t let winter and cold days dampen your spirits to eat healthy and still enjoy warm puddings and other treats!  Just because it is cold outside and you want to watch your weight, does not mean you have to skip the desserts.

Here is a delicious treat by one of my favourite chefs, Jamie Oliver.

Ginger, pear and almond cake

This is a flourless, upside-down cake.  The base is made of ginger-poached pears and almonds instead of flour.  This makes it suitable for gluten-intolerant family members and friends.

Ingredients

200 g butter

200 g caster sugar

4 large free-range eggs

220 g ground almonds

CARAMELISED GINGER PEARS

300 g ginger

1 vanilla pod

550 g caster sugar

4 pears

20 g butter

Method

For the pears, peel and finely grate the ginger. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, then place it all into a pan.

Add 400g of the sugar and 700ml of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes for the flavours to develop.

Using a spoon, carefully lower the pears into the hot liquid and simmer for 10 minutes, until tender.

Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside to cool.

Line the base of a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Combine the remaining 150g sugar and 100ml of water in a pan and place over a high heat, simmering for about 15 minutes until it turns a dark golden brown.

Stir in the butter until you get a caramel, then pour it into the cake tin.

Cut the cooled pears into slices and carefully arrange them in the warm caramel.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.

For the cake, beat the butter and sugar with a whisk until smooth (an electric one will be best for this).

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the almonds and mix to combine.

Pour the cake mixture over the pears and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and carefully flip upside down to serve.

Interesting facts: 

Ginger is an excellent source of pain relief, relieves colds and flu, nausea and inflammation.  It is good for cardiovascular health and it also helps to relieve muscle pain (experienced after strenuous exercise), as well as menstrual pain.

Almonds reduce the risks of a heart attack, they protect the artery walls, they fight “bad” cholesterol, helps build strong bones and teeth, contains healthy fats – good for brain health, good for the nervous system, help to lower insulin-rise in the body after meals and has an alkalizing effect on the body. 3

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