Pear cake and an exhausting email exchange


I engaged in a slightly surreal email exchange with a ski instructor recently. I wanted to reserve a skiing lesson for Léo for this weekend – a lesson in which he would hopefully learn a) how to leave the other mountain users vertical and intact, and b) that posts, signs (particularly ones that say ‘slow down’) and barriers are there for reasons other than to be uprooted while flying past. I asked for a one hour private lesson on Monday morning, Mr Ski Genius replied that he could offer a two hour lesson on Sunday afternoon. So I enquired about a two hour lesson on Monday afternoon, which he was afraid he couldn’t do, but he could perhaps fit in a one hour lesson on Sunday morning, assuming that I was the person that had originally wanted to book for Tuesday afternoon. There were numerous other variants discussed far too tortuous to go in to, including, if I remember correctly, the possibility of a one and a quarter hour lesson from midnight on Sunday, which was obviously very tempting. Anyway, the upshot is that I lost the will to live and conceded defeat. We’re just going to wing it and give him a call when we get there to try to arrange (although frankly, the thought of a ‘phone conversation with him brings me out in a cold sweat). I just hope that his lessons are less convoluted than his emails. Failing that, we can pray that the other skiers and signposts are more robust than last time. It could all prove to be very interesting…

I bought a variation of this ‘moelleux aux poires’ in a patisserie when we were last skiing. Anything tastes good after a day on the slopes, particularly with Léo, but this was still delicious when I made it at home.


3 pears, cut into eight

1 tablespoon rum

1 vanilla pod

100g cane sugar

50g butter

50g coconut oil

3 eggs

75g rye flour

75g buckwheat flour

50g powdered almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Poach the pears in a little water with the rum and vanilla pod. Blend the butter, coconut oil and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs one by one, and then the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and almonds and combine well. Add the drained, poached pears and gently incorporate into the mixture. Transfer to a pre-buttered medium-size loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

12 responses to “Pear cake and an exhausting email exchange

  1. Oh thats maddening isn’t it. It’s like arguing with yourself because they are obviously not there or at least hardly there. Love your cake, anything with pear is tops on my list. The combination of flours with the pear sounds lovely. Hope you and the family, Hugo and Java are all well and that Leo gets what sounds like a much needed ski lesson.

  2. This cake sounds delish! I shall try it as soon as possible. Which pears did you use? I’m keen to try those that Roger Stowell flaunts at us island dwellers, what’s it called … Passé Crasanne?

    Talking of cakes, I’m about to make something quite similar, but with rhubarb not pear, and with sour cream. I can’t decide, though, whether to put the rhubarb into the mix raw, hoping it will steam, or to roast it first till it caramelises a bit. I’m leaning towards the latter.

    As for skiing, I know nothing about it, but I do despair at some people’s contempt for intelligent correspondence. Good luck!

    • I used Comice pears, which are juicy and slightly acidic, which I think is important. Your rhubarb cake sounds lovely – I absolutely love rhubarb. I would definitely pre-cook it because, in my experience, it could be very stringy and bitter if not. I’d be interested to hear how it turns out and have the recipe if it’s a success! And yes, I also despair at some people… Lovely to hear from you – I hope you are well. 🙂

  3. How irritating! Some people really don’t know the meaning of customer service. Glad you had this lovely cake to see you through 🙂

  4. Well, at least you have snow and you have pear cake. I think Leo might be giving him the lesson.

  5. I love completely deviant stories like that of your ski instructor, which somehow manage to end up on cake. Especially that cake!! Lovely!

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