Well I poached some pears the other day as I just can’t resist the shape of Bosc Pears. However there were not many “takers” for them and as a result I thought I would invent a recipe using the poor leftover pears. This is one of the things that people who love to cook know how to do. Use leftovers in an inventive way. The other thing I do is I often have ingredients that need a little extra work, pre prepared. Like roasted and chopped pistachios in this recipe. All you have to do is when a recipe calls for something, make extra and store it for next time. If you find time going by and no need for it, you can always sprinkle on a salad, to take it to the next level.

I also used quinoa as it is high and protein and gluten free. It is a very popular ingredient. The most important thing is to wash it well as it retains an unusual taste otherwise. These little cakes will make a lovely morning tea at work or at home. Also good to pack and take with you as they will keep your hunger at bay a bit longer because of their high protein.

Recipe for Poached Pear and Quinoa Cake

to poach the pears


  • 4 bosc pears, peeled, stem still attached, 1/4-inch of bottom sliced off so pears can easily sit upright
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup raw castor sugar
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 2 slices of lemon rind


1 In a saucepan just large enough to fit all of the pears, place the water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Once boiling and sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium and place the pears in the pan, standing upright. Cover the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (if you want, baste with the liquid a couple of times during the cooking), until the pears can easily be pierced with a fork. Very firm pears make need to cook for up to 20 minutes.

2 Remove the pears to a serving dish. Keeping the pan uncovered, let the syrup boil down for a few minutes until it is a thick syrup. (If it begins to caramelize, remove pan from the heat and add a little water to the pan to stop the cooking.) Pour syrup over pears and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Now to make the Cakes

Serves 8
Cooking Time Prep time 30 mins, cook 1 hr 10 mins (plus drying, cooling)

  4 Poached Pears reserving syrup for serving
1 cup Almond meal
90 gm (½ cup) white quinoa, rinsed
4 eggs
200 gm butter, melted and cooled
260 gm (1¾ cups) plain gluten free flour
1 tsp baking powder
60 gm chopped and roasted roasted Pistachios

Cut poached pears into pieces leaving stem and seeds behind and blend into a purée Reserve syrup for later
Meanwhile, bring quinoa, vanilla bean and 250ml water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid evaporates and quinoa is tender (12-15 minutes). Drain through a fine sieve to remove any remaining liquid, then spread on a tray to cool and dry (15-20 minutes; discard vanilla bean).
Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (6-8 minutes), add butter and whisk to combine. Sieve over gluten free flour, almond meal and baking powder, stir to combine, stir in poached pear purée,  and quinoa , mix well.Spoon into containers, ( I used cupcake papers and darioule moulds). Scatter with pistachios, bake until cakes are golden and centres spring back when lightly pressed (35minutes). Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with  remaining poached pear syrup.

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