This moist cake is a delicious way to blend many different flavours and textures. It brings together pears, hazelnuts and chocolate. The hazelnuts can be swapped for almonds, and pears for apples, if you prefer.
100g blanched hazelnuts
140g self-raising flour
175g butter, cut into small pieces
140g brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
3 semi-ripe packham pears
50g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Preheat the oven to 140C for fan-forced (160C conventional).
Butter and line the base of a 25 x 11-centimetre loaf cake tin with baking paper.
Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until fairly fine. Add the flour and mix briefly. Add the butter and pulse until it forms crumbs. Add the sugar and eggs and mix briefly.
Peel, core and chop one-and-a-half pears into a small dice. Stir the pears and chocolate lightly into the cake mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
Peel, core and slice the remaining pears and arrange on the top of the cake. Press down lightly and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold.
Don't use fully ripe pears for cooking, as they will fall apart. You need them slightly firm.