I'm feeling slightly bereft this week. After 8 years, Dan Lepard has left The Guardian and I am not entirely sure what I shall do without him. I decided to bake something to mark the occasion.
The summer that has produced so many grapes for us has also produced a lot of pears, so I wanted to use some before the birds got them all. And the obvious partner for pears is ginger.
100 year old parkin recipe, using the zest of a lime instead of half a lemon, and substituted chopped crystallised ginger (made from Dan's recipe) for the mixed peel. The other change I made was to lighten it up a bit, using white sugar instead of light brown and reversing the quantities for the treacle and golden syrup.
Then I simply spread the mixture over peeled, cored and quartered pears in a cake tin. The batter is thick and sticky, so it didn't spread easily, and it didn't actually cover the pears completely. I just trusted to the quantities of butter and sugars to make it all spread out in the oven.
Which it did. The batter expanded into all the gaps like that space invading foam stuff. But spicier. The cake itself is slightly chewy and pairs very nicely with the sweet, juicy but not strongly flavoured pears. It's a lovely taste of early autumn and a fitting tribute to Dan's columns.