I did it, I bought myself a cute thyme plant! Now I feel like a very accomplished person who doesn’t need anything more in life 😀
As I ran out of peaches I took home from Italy, I had to come up with another way to continue my thyme-on-fruit-dream. It so happened that last week we went to visit some friends in Krumpendof who had a bit of a pear problem. We were kindly given a nice big bag that took up all the boot space of our kiddy bike trailer. This was experiment number one:
Caramelized pears with thyme and saffron whipped cream. Lots of potential but something was missing, perhaps something crunchy, plus I had issues cooking the pears. I don’t seem to be able to cook certain things on the electric ceramic stove, things that would require more control over the heat (more to the point: I want/need gas!).
The evolution came the next day! I admit, I did burn the caramel (mostly for artistic purposes for a new project called 50 shades of caramel) and it was a very masterchef moment which I will treasure for the rest of my life. And in true masterchef style I made it again and it worked perfectly . No tears and no breakdown though, no worries.
Note to self: don’t try to be multitasking when making caramel whether you are on masterchef on not.
Enough blah blah now, all I can say is that today is a rainy day – perfect for baking this little treat!
2 large eggs
100 gr sunflower oil
200 gr full-fat yoghurt
80 gr caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
a bunch of fresh thyme leaves
250 gr flour
8 gr baking powder
3 pears, cut in thin slices
Mix (almost) all the ingredients for the cake – except for the baking powder and pears – in the given order in a bowl. Make sure the mixture is lump free and don’t panic, it is a pretty thick mixture indeed! Put aside and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cover a cake tin (36 cm diameter) with baking paper. It’s time to make caramel now!
175 gr sugar
75 gr water
a good pinch of salt
A bunch of fresh thyme leaves
Put all the ingredients in a heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan occasionally – let the water reduce until the caramel is bubbly and amber colour. Pour it inside the cake tin, do the best you can to cover the whole bottom of the tin.
Place the cut up pears on top of the caramel to form a spiral pattern – make sure you don’t touch the caramel, it’s bloody hot!
Mix the baking powder into the cake mixture and pour it onto the pears.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cake passes the skewer test. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for about half an hour. Flip it using a plate (watch the caramel again!) and let it cool completely. Refrigerate it before serving – it tastes even yummier!
Serve with more fresh thyme and crushed toasted hazelnuts.