I picked up my first autumn leaf today. I turned it over and over in my hand taking note of the metamorphosis it had undergone. Saddened green hues peppered with gold and ruby, coarsely textured yet still with a slight bend, not yet crisp. Its veiny spine was limp as if it had breathed its last breath, unable to hold its taut stature. The scalloped edges were hardened as if closed off to the world that had so unfairly determined its fate. If only I had more time, I imaged the leaf to say, but in my heart we both knew that time is ever changing and always against us. A cruel but necessary game.
With a sigh I cast the leaf aside, allowing it to live its remaining moments in peace. And with metaphorical open arms I embraced autumn as if it were an old friend who had come to taunt me with wool sweaters and apple pie. It wasn't long before my fridge was packed with pears and newly harvested apples, my pantry stocked with all the necessary spices, and my heart set on baking something warm, a true sign of fall.
Like a cup of chai tea, these individual cakes hold all of my favorite autumn flavors. Each cake, gluten and grain free, is marbleized with freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon, held together with thin slices of asian and red pear soaked in vanilla honey, and topped with a dollop of cardamom infused cream.
I will give you a moment as you wipe the drool from your chin...
So for those of you holding onto summer, let it go. Allow this new season to sooth and settle you into a slower pace. Don some warm socks, an emollient to our callused, sandal worn feet. Put your comforter back on your bed and open the windows allowing the impending cool air to flush your cheeks. Dust off your kettle and refill your tea canisters with earl grey and orange spice. Find an old book to read and buy a new journal to gather your thoughts.
And for you pleasure barons out there, make these little cakes. They are a true delight and welcome to a much yearned for time of year.
Upside Down Pear Cakes (makes 9)
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 11/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup ghee, melted (or butter or oil of your choice)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of fresh apple juice
- 3 pears of choice (I used asian and red), thinly sliced (a mandolin works great!)
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients and pour into dry, mixing to incorporate. Set aside.
Keep sliced pears aside.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod discarded
Mix the vanilla seeds with the honey until incorporated.
Pour 1tsp of vanilla honey into 9 wells of a greased muffin pan. I used a 12-well pan but only filled 9.
Place a few slices of pear on top the vanilla honey in each filled well. Pour batter over the slice pears, filling each well to the top.
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
These bake like muffins so the tops may be a bit uneven. For presentations sake I used a serated knife and trimmed the top part to create a "flat" surface. You do not have to do this step but it will make it easy for the mini cakes to sit flat. If you do trim the tops save the scraps for a later snack :)
Once cooled slightly remove the cakes from the muffin pan and flip so that the pear side is facing up.
Pour some cardamom cream on a plate. Place a cake on top and drizzle with some leftover vanilla honey. Enjoy!
Because we can not have fresh cream on our SCD diet I fermented the cream in a dehydrator, similar to how I make SCD yogurt. The result is a slightly tangy créme fraîche. The fermenting process allows good bacteria to consume the milk sugar, lactose, making this a "legal" dish for us SCD followers.
If you do not follow the SCD diet you can make this using whipped cream or store bought créme fraîche. Just add some ground cardamom and a touch of honey. The method below is for SCD:
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 1 packet of yogourmet yogurt starter
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 3 TBS honey
Heat cream to 110F. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt starter. Fill two 8 ounce jars will mixture and incubate at 105F or 110F in a dehydrator or yogurt maker for no less than 24 hours.
After 24 hours place jars in fridge and allow to cool for at least 5 hours.
The result is a créme fraîche, simliar to sour cream but thinner and not as strong.
Pour into a bowl and mix in honey and cardamom. You can add more or less cardamom and honey to your liking.