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Pecan and pear upside-down cake with cranberries
You will need:
75g (3oz) butter
115g (4oz) caster sugar
900g (2lb) pears (about 6)
140g (5oz) cranberries
75g (3oz) shelled pecans
For the cake
120g (4oz) butter
200g (7oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs, separated
210g (7 ¼oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
175ml (6fl oz) milk
Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4. Melt the butter and sugar in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, about 25-30cm (10-12 inches) in diameter, over a low heat. Peel and core the pears and cut them into slices, about 1cm (½ inch) thick, and place them on top of the butter and sugar. Cook these over a gentle heat until just tender, then whack the heat up and cook them until lightly caramelized. Scatter the cranberries and pecans on top and gently mix all the fruit around.
For the cake, cream the butter and sugar and add the egg yolks and a drop of vanilla. Mix in half the flour along with the baking powder. Add the milk and then the other half of the flour. Mix until smooth.
Beat the egg whites until they form medium peaks and, working quickly, fold into the cake mix with a large spoon.
Spread the batter over the pears and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out – but no longer, or the caramelized fruit will stick to the pan. If this does happen, carefully lever the pears off the pan and lay them on to the cake with their dark, caramelized side upwards.