Monday, April 11

Introducing the Pear of Anguish

To be honest one would have expected the producers of ‘Julie and Julia’ to have been knocking down the door by now. But not a snifter. Not a sodding snifter.

However, I’m not the type to let down The Lucky 36! So this week’s offerings come to you courtesy of the humble pear…

The Pear of Anguish was used during the Middle Ages as a way to torture women who conducted a miscarriage, liars, blasphemers and homosexuals.
A pear-shaped instrument was inserted into one of the victim's orifices and consisted of four leaves that slowly separated from each other as the torturer turned the screw at the top. It was the torturer's decision to simply tear the skin or expand the "pear" to its maximum and mutilate the victim. Tough choice.

There’s a lovely organic pear stall at our local Farmer’s Market and feeling all autumny I purchased several with the intention of turning them into a comforting dessert. Which I managed rather ably, if I do say so myself (with a more than a little help from

Firstly, I preheated the oven to 180 and greased and lined a 22cm cake tin. Then I chopped up 150g of dried pitted dates and soaked them in one cup, that’s one cup of boiling water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Using an electric beater I mixed 215g of caster sugar and 125g of butter until pale and creamy then added one egg. Next came 225g of self-raising flour and one teaspoon of cinnamon. To this I added the by now mushy date mixture and three peeled, cored and cubed pears and folded it all together with a big metal spoon before pouring into the tin. The recipe recommended baking for one hour and ten minutes but my splendid creation took about 55 minutes. Also, I covered it up with foil after 20 minutes because she went mighty brown, mighty quick.

The sauce is as easy as it is sinful. Simply place 185ml of cream, 50g of butter and 200g of brown sugar in a pan on a low heat and stir away for a few minutes until golden and slightly thick. Pour on top of the hot cake and serve with vanilla ice-cream. Like this…

By God, Mrs Robertson, You Should Have Been a Photographer!


  1. Gemma you are astoundingly amazing! I myself have also recently been immersed in the delights of the fruit known as the pear! I myself appropriated Nigella's infamous cupcake mix to the tune of an upside down pear cake. It was appreciated in full by my housemates, let me tell you

  2. i am reading this in bed having had a few crisps and dip for my dinner, and am STARVING. that looks amazing lady