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Upside-down pear cake

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for upside-down pear cake by chef Phillip Searle matched with a late-harvest muscat wine.

By Phillip Searle
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 6 hrs cooking
  • Serves 8
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Upside-down pear cake
You may want to prepare the pears the day before.


  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 80 gm unblanched almonds (½ cup)
  • 60 gm hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
  • 60 gm dessicated coconut
  • 160 gm plain flour
  • 300 gm butter
  • 300 gm granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
  • 2 oranges (finely grated rind of)
  • To serve: sour cream or crème Anglaise
Roast pears
  • 6 large under-ripe pears
  • 180 gm granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons (juice of)
  • 50 ml white wine


  • 1
    For roast pears, preheat oven to 150C. Peel pears and halve lengthways. Place cut-side down in a baking dish, sprinkle over sugar and drizzle with lemon juice and wine. Cover with foil and bake for up to 4 hours or until tender. Cool. Using a melon baller, remove cores and stem. Strain liquid through a sieve and reserve. Pears may be cooked the day before and refrigerated.
  • 2
    Place caster sugar in a small saucepan, add enough water to dampen and cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until caramel in colour. Pour caramel into a 20cm-round cake pan with high sides and swirl to coat base and sides.
  • 3
    Process nuts and coconut in a food processor until coarsely chopped, then add half the flour and process to a medium meal. Combine with remaining flour. Using an electric beater, cream butter, sugar and orange rind until fluffy and approximately 3 times its original volume, then add eggs, a little at a time, beating to incorporate each addition before adding next. Using the open palm of your hand, fold nut mixture through creamed mixture until combined.
  • 4
    Increase oven to 160C. Arrange pears, round-side down, snugly into cake pan, spoon over cake mixture, place in a baking dish and cover base with 5mm of water. Bake for 2 hours or until firm and golden. Allow cake to cool in pan. Warm base of pan over stove to melt caramel, then invert onto a plate. Serve drizzled with reserved pear liquid and sour cream or crème Anglaise.


Drink Suggestion: Late-harvest muscat. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Phillip Searle