I’ve pulled off my wellies, hung up my Barbour, scrubbed the soil out of my nails and headed to the big city of London this week where I’m teaching cookery classes for AEG at Taste of London Festive Edition – an enormous festival of food held every year at Tobacco Docks.

The city is all a bit of a shock after a few weeks in the ‘wolds. What a lot of cranes. And people seem very well dressed down here. And they all have a phone in one hand and a glass of fizz in the other (or maybe that’s just the Taste of London punters).

Over the next few days, 264 cookery class guests will be making 2,376 pear and cardamom friands with butterscotch dipping sauce. And, given the drink options here, I’m certain half of them will be tipsy whilst doing so. 

If you can’t make it to one of the classes, fear not, because here is the recipe: my ultimate quick bake, made with all the wintery flavours of the season… not to mention the glut of pears.

Pear, almond and cardamom friands

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: Makes 18-24

Pear, almond and cardamom friands

A quick and easy bake for the winter that makes the most of the season's pear glut. Fragrant pears and cardamom dunked in a butterscotch sauce.

    For the friands:
  • 100g unsalted butter, diced
  • 40g plain flour
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 medium egg whites
  • 50g tinned pears (drained weight), chopped
  • Oil for greasing
  • For the sauce:
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 30g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 125ml double cream
  1. Melt the butter over a low heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Mix the flour, almonds, icing sugar and ground cardamom together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
  4. Tip the egg whites into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients and begin to gently fold together. When the batter is just coming together pour in the melted butter, add the chopped pears and continue to fold the mixture together until you have a smooth batter – but be gentle! Spoon the batter into a well-greased mini muffin tray and bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
  5. Whilst the friands cook, make the butterscotch. Dissolve the sugar in 2 tbsp of water over a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and leave to bubble, without stirring, until the sugar goes a light golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Once fully combined, pour in the cream and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  6. When just browned on top, take the friands from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Serve with the sauce for dunking.
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