Rumor has it—pears are having a moment. Take last weekend, for example: at your local farmer’s market, when you found yourself juggling 5 toothpicks (yes, you counted) because you couldn’t resist another bite-size sample. I was there too, enjoying their crisp and gritty sweetness.
Unlike apples, with their recipes and their idioms, pears (Pyrus) don’t occupy that definitive place in the kitchen. I always want to bring the ripe ones home, but I often have no clue what to do with them. I know pears go great in salads (paired with blue cheese and endive) and their ripeness becomes luscious when baked whole (with some drizzled honey you’ll forget you’re eating fruit), however I’ve yet to truly appreciate our dear old pear.
That is, of course, until I tried the Lumberjack Cake. I had it for dessert one night at one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, Frances. The cake isn’t full of sugar, nor is it glazed, frosted, or upside down. Its sweetness comes from the dates, coconut flakes and one perfectly ripe pear (peeled and medium diced).
Upon first bite (I’ve gone back for more and baked it myself at home), I was amazed that such healthy ingredients could fold their way into such a devilishly good dessert. Then I thought: what is in a name? The lumberjack? I like to think of the cake as hearty and strong, like a log cabin in winter. Try this recipe at home and you will embody its essence. Dust the top with powdered sugar. Watch, as it snows.