One of the last fruits of fall, pears are usually simply too good to cook with. I eat them as they are, savoring the textured sugary taste. However, on rare occasions such as this one, I do have a few extra pears lying around. Pears are a versatile fruit: you can poach them, puree them, bake them. Poached pears a particularly lovely, and look so much more impressive than they are. But since I didn’t have anybody to impress, I went for the comfort-food alternative: coffee cake.
Coffee Cake, n. 1. Any cake-like substance which can be thrown together with whatever is on hand in under an hour.
This particular definition comes from childhood afternoons at grandma’s house. Grandma first started me baking at around five, and I was obsessed with making cake. Any time I forgot something and the cake turned out not-quite-right, grandma would proclaim it ‘coffee cake’. The phrase has stuck with me ever since, although I now associate it with convenience rather than mistakes.
Recipe: Carmel Drizzled Pear Upside Down Cake, Adapted from Kiran Tarun.
Post-baking comments: good, but slightly bland. Future reference: 1/2 tsp. vanilla and double the spices.