When one of my clever friends gave us a dozen beautiful passion fruit she had grown in her garden I wasn't initially sure how to do justice to such a lovely gift. I didn't want the fruit to end up just like the super sweet 'stuff in the jar'. Luckily, having spent the Easter break at the farm, the pear trees were overflowing with fruit and so a match was made. I've always liked shortcakes; my mother often made them when we were children, and they are a great way to make the most of any seasonal fruit. I'm already contemplating the onset of the feijoa season!
Pear and Passion Fruit Shortcake
125g caster sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
the juice and zest of a lemon
the pulp from 5 passion fruit
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180deg. C. and line a 25 x 25cm slice tin with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well combined.
Fold in the zest and juice of the lemon, followed by the sifted flour and baking powder.
Turn the batter out onto some cooking film; wrap and chill the mixture briefly while you prepare the fruit filling.
Scoop the passion fruit pulp out of the skins.
Mix the pulp with the icing sugar in a large bowl.
Prepare the pears one at a time by peeling and cutting longways into quarters - as shown.
Cut the stem and core from each quarter, then cut each quarter length-ways into three.
Gently stir the pear segments into the passion fruit. This will stop the pears from going brown while you finish preparing them.
Spread three-quarters of the shortcake batter into a lined baking tin.
Arrange the pear segments onto the cake base. Drizzle the remaining passion fruit pulp onto the shortcake.
Dot the remaining quarter of the batter over the pears in small blobs.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Leave to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before serving warm.
This cake also stores well in the fridge, and can be easily reheated a slice at a time by about 20 seconds on high in the microwave.
Happy baking! xx