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The Persian Fusion

The Persian Fusion

My Authentic and Fusion Persian Recipes. Happy Cooking!

Persian Chicken & Aubergine Stew (Bademjan-Ghooreh Mosama)

Persian Chicken & Aubergine Stew (Bademjan-Ghooreh Mosama)

  Believe me, I know I’ve posted too many aubergine recipes here but it just happens! Aubergine is one of the most used vegetables in Persian cuisine and available throughout the year. A whole lot of Persian dishes, from stews to dips, including this chicken […]

Persian Jewelled Rice with Lamb (Gheymeh Nesar)

Persian Jewelled Rice with Lamb (Gheymeh Nesar)

It’s amazing how the Persian cuisine has been catching on in the western world in the past few years. There are now tens or maybe even more lovely Persian jewelled rice recipes in English out there. I was surprised though when I checked for the […]

Pretty Pear and Ginger Cake with Salted Toffee Sauce

Pretty Pear and Ginger Cake with Salted Toffee Sauce

I was in baking mood this morning, or probably baking was an excuse to dodge chores I couldn’t bring myself to tackle. Yes, not today, I kept telling myself. But you know what such days are like. The ingredients I needed to bake what I craved – strawberry cheesecake – I didn’t have and I was feeling too lazy to go shopping. So I kept going from room to room not knowing what I was looking for. And there they were, a few pears in the fruit bowl that were a bit too hard and not very sweet so no one had touched them.

Ginger-and-pear-cake-recipe

A while back I had made a pear and ginger cake with walnuts that tasted incredibly good. But as happens I didn’t have walnuts. So I made this one, which is really delicious even without walnuts. But do stir a handful of chopped walnuts into the batter. You can never go wrong with walnuts in spicy cakes.

I made the cake and it turned out really nice although cakes like this need to sit for at least a few hours for the flavours and the texture to develop. I sprinkled it with icing sugar like I usually do. I’m not a big fan of icings. It was delicious as it was but I felt like something was missing because today I wanted more than cake. I needed dessert. Salted toffee! It’s really easy to make and I did have cream, butter and sugar. And it worked like magic. The perfect dessert!

pear-and-ginger-cake-recipe
Pear and ginger cake makes a stunning dessert when served with warm salted toffee sauce but is delicious with a dusting of icing sugar too.

Next time you need a cake to share with family or a dessert to finish off the Sunday meal, give a try to this one. Let me know what you think. Your feedback is always appreciated!

 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 250ml olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 275g flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs ground ginger (less if you wish so)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • About 400g of firm pears
  • Extra sugar for coating pear slices

For the salted toffee sauce:

  • 250ml double cream
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F (170C fan assisted). Line the bottom of a 26 cm round cake tin with baking paper. Lightly oil the sides of the tin.
  2. Take two long slices from the middle of each pear, about 3-4 mm thick, and set aside for decorating the top. Cut the rest of the pears into small cubes (about 250 grams chopped). Set aside.
  3. Put the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well with a whisk or fork.
  4. Put the sugar in another bowl and add the olive/vegetable oil. Beat on medium speed for three minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Add the eggs to the sugar one by one, beating well after each egg is added.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed to incorporate. Add the rest of the flour mix in two batches and beat to incorporate, then beat the batter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the chopped pears with a spatula and mix well.
  7. Pour the batter into the lined cake tin. Dip the reserved pear slices in sugar (only one side). Arrange the slices on top of the batter (sugary side up).
  8. Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin, then turn out on a plate. Cover with another plate and turn so the decorated side is facing up.
  9. To make the toffee sauce put the sugar, cream and butter in a small saucepan. Stir well and cook on medium-low heat until it’s bubbly and toffee-coloured. Add the sea salt and stir to dissolve. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Serve warm with the cake.

My Favourite

Persian Style Rosewater Chia Seed Drink

Persian Style Rosewater Chia Seed Drink

So here I am with an unusual chia seed recipe. It’s a Persian-inspired cooler scented with rosewater. How does it sound?

I love to stir my rosewater chia seed drink and watch the pretty seeds dance in the light syrup around the ice cubes. And I love the faint scent of rosewater when I raise the glass to drink. This is just the perfect drink for those long and hot summer days when nothing else seems to quench my thirst.

chia-seed-drink-recipe
Rosewater and lots of ice makes chia seed drink really refreshing.

My recipe for this very refreshing drink (or non-recipe) is based on a traditional and very popular Persian summer drink made with wild basil seeds (tokhm-e sharbati). If you’ve ever been to Iran during summer you’ve probably seen street vendors selling this refreshing drink or people on the street just handing cups of this from a large tub  with large chunks of ice to passersby on religious occasions as a token that God has accepted and realised a wish (nazr).

I had never had chia before leaving my home a few years ago to live abroad. I discovered the similarity of chia seeds to wild basil seeds after I bought some, not knowing what it tasted like or how to use it. I soaked the seeds to mix them in yoghurt as one recipe instructed. But as soon as I tasted the gooey soaked seeds it downed on me that I could use them in the same way as wild basil seeds.

chia-seeds-persian-wild-basil-seeds-tokhm-e-sharbati
Chia seeds on the left, wild basil seeds on the right.

Wild basil seeds are very tiny and black but once soaked they swell, like chia seeds, and turn a gorgeous bluish grey. In Iran besides making summer drinks they are added to a refreshing sorbet-like dessert from Yazd (faloodeh yazdi). Traditional Persian herbalists prescribe soaked wild basil seeds for coughs, digestive problems and many other things including depression. If you are lucky to have a Persian grocery near you ask for tokhm-e sharbati and give it a try. If you like chia, you’ll love tokhm-e sharbati!

tokhm-sharbati-recipe
Persian rosewater and wild basil seed summer drink (sharbat-e golab ba tokhm-e sharbati).

Ingredients:

  • chia seeds
  • water
  • sugar, honey or sugar substitute
  • rosewater

Instructions:

  1. Put two tablespoons of chia seeds in 400ml of cold water, stir well and let stand for half an hour or more.
  2. Make a very light syrup with 200ml of hot water and four tablespoons of sugar (less if you wish) or other natural sweetener such as honey. Let cool.
  3. Add one tablespoon rosewater (not essence) to the soaked chia and enough syrup to sweeten it to your liking. Pour into four glasses and add lots of ice. Garnish with a fresh rose petal (or dried bud – I didn’t have fresh) or a sprig of mint and enjoy!