Korean Pear Szarlotka

I enjoyed my Apple Szarlotka so much that I went back in for round two: the Korean pear edition.  In case you’re not familiar with this particular fruit, meet pyrus pyrifolia, also know as the apple pear, Asian pear, Chinese pear, Korean pear, Japanese pear, Taiwanese pear, or sand pear:

Korean pear 1

I live in Korea, so I choose to call it a Korean pear, but whatever floats your boat is fine.  What you should know about Korean pears is that they’re super juicy.  I’ll freely admit that I didn’t sufficiently take this into account when I embarked on this cake journey – the cook time for the apple version was about 1 hour, but this one needed a full two hours in the oven to let the juices evaporate enough for the cake dough to set.  The end result, though, was totally worth it.  More subtle than the apple flavor of the first one, this was a big hit when I brought it over to a girlfriend’s place where a group of us were getting ready for the 2017 Marine Corps Ball.

Korean pear 6
Prosecco was clearly involved.

This was a great proof of concept of the fact that you can make this simplest of cakes with any fruit you have on hand by just altering the cook time.  I think a mixed berry szarlotka would also be delicious (and probably very pretty, too).  This recipe is staying firmly in the rotation as a go-to when I need to bring a dessert to anything.

Prep time:  15-20 minutes (mostly peeling and slicing the pears)

Cook time:  ~120 minutes

Ingredients

  • Butter or nonstick spray, for greasing pan
  • 3 Korean pears
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Ground cinnamon, to finish
  • Powdered sugar, also to finish

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.  Butter the paper and the sides of the pan.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is thick and ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs.  Beat in the vanilla, then stir in the flour with a spoon until just combined (the batter will be very thick).  Pour half into the prepared pan.  Peel, halve and core your pears, then chop them into medium-sized chunks.

Korean pear 3

  • Pile the cut pears directly in the prepared pan, pressing them down into the batter.  Pour the second half of the batter over the pears in pan, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter so that it covers all exposed chunks.  Press down with your spoon to encourage it to seep down through the pears to meet the batter at the bottom.  The top should be level.
Korean pear 4
It probably won’t look like there’s enough batter, but believe me, it works out just fine in the end.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for two hours, or until a tester comes out free of batter (I’d recommend starting to check it after an hour and a half, and poking it with a tester every 15 minutes until comes out clean).  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a rack, then flip out onto another rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip it back onto a serving platter.  Dust generously with powdered sugar and lightly with ground cinnamon.
  • Serve warm or cooled.

Korean pear 5

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