On Sunday, Marie-Laure came over "pour le goûter". Le goûter is the afternoon snack kids are given when they come out of school around 4. In my family (by that I mean "at my parents'"), it is also called simply le thé, and is practically an institution. Around 5 on weekends, somebody will invariably ask "on fait le thé?" (alternatively "on prend le goûter?"). Cookies or cake (often home-baked by my mother) will be served, washed down by liters of tea. It is a habit I am very fond of, and one that I am always happy to indulge in when I can.
And so, I baked a cake.
I used a family standby called "Gâteau de Mamy". As the name implies, this is my grandmother's recipe, which she calls "Gâteau d'Ella" because it was her dear friend Ella's recipe originally. It is anybody's guess what Ella used to call it. This is actually what I think is called an upside down cake, meaning that you lay fresh fruit at the bottom of the cake pan, and then pour the dough on top. Sort of a cake equivalent to the tarte tatin. The basic recipe is this.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt 125g of butter, set aside to cool. The original recipe calls for unsalted ("beurre doux") but here I used half unsalted, half salted ("beurre salé") and I liked it. Butter a non-stick 8-inch cake pan. Wash, peel and cut up 3 large or 4 small apples. Lay the pieces of fruit at the bottom of the pan. This recipe works with a variety of fruit : apples, apricots, plums... Here, I used 6 small pears (of three different kinds).
Mix 150g of sugar with two eggs. Add 70g of flour and half a packet of baking powder (5g). (This time I experimented a little and substituted 20g of powdered almonds for 20g of flour, which worked really well.) Add the butter. Pour the dough on the fruit in the pan, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Let the cake settle for a few minutes. Invert it on a plate (the fruit side will be on top), scrape the bits of fruit that may stick at the bottom of the pan and place those bits evenly on the inverted cake. Use a second plate to invert the cake again (the fruit side will then be at the bottom).
The resulting cake is golden, incredibly moist, light and fruity, with a slightly crusty edge, and it is very hard to stop at just one slice. But if you do and there are leftovers, your reward will be that this cake is even better the next day...
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