“With it’s hint of exotic spice, this is as good served warm with cream for dessert as it is with a cup of tea.”
An unusual but beautifully warming blend of winter fruits and zing-zingy flavour.
Serves up to 10
175g unsalted butter
2 tsp cardamon pods, split open and seeds removed
175g light brown soft sugar
3 conference pears, cored and cut lengthways into eights
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 Tbs flaked almonds or shaved brazil nuts
Icing sugar, for dusting, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4. Line a 900g loaf tin. Crush the cardamom seeds in a pestle & mortar.
- Melt 25g butter in a frying pan with 25g of the sugar until bubbling, then ad pear wedges and cook for 5 minutes, turning regularly, until lightly soft. Remove & set aside, pouring butter into a bowl.
- Add cardamom to melted butter with the lemon zest, remaining sugar and butter. Beat until smooth then slowly beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour and baking powder.
- Roughly chop half the pears and fold into the mix gently.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and top with remaining pear wedges, laying ‘top-to-tail’. Scatter with almonds.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, covering with foil after 45 minutes if too much colour is developing.
- Leave to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes.
- Eat warm with cream, or cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.
Recipe from My Waitrose Magazine, (Nov ’15).
Interesting facts about this perhaps lesser used spice:
- Cardamom is one of the Worlds oldest spices, having been used for over 4,000 years. It is related to ginger in origin, and similarly, works well in both sweet and savoury dishes.
- There are 2 key types of Cardamom: Green – mainly used for culinary purposes, including Indian foods like biryani, kheer – and Black, which is less fragrant & most commonly used for medicinal purposes.
- Cardamom is said to be one of the most expensive spices in the world – after saffron, and vanilla.
- First used in Ancient Egypt for rituals including embalming, then as a spice by the Greeks & Romans, Cardamom is now commonly used to fragrance perfume blends.
- Worldwide commercial production of Cardamom is around 36,000 tonnes per year. Around two thirds of that is exported by Guatemala, with India, Sri Lanca and Tanzania also being key producers.
- The largest importers of this versatile spice are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan and USA.
There are a huge number of health claims related to cardamom, including indicators that it:
- could aid digestion
- appears to be an antioxidant,
- could help to lower blood pressure and promote metabolism,
- could contain enzymes to help against cancer, and inhibit growth of cancerous and other non native tumour cells,
- could help with the prevention of several gastrointestinal problems, including ulcers
- could help reduce the risk of diabetes, particularly type 1; some claim that Cardamom tea helps with diabetes management.
To make your own cardamom tea,
just put some loose tea, or tea bags and cardamom pods into a sealed tea caddy
& let the flavour infuse before using.