For the cake:
Butter for greasing
350g California walnuts
Zest of 1 lemon
225g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp icing sugar
For the poached pears:
4 ripe conference pears
8 cardamom pods
Pinch of saffron
Juice of 1 lemon
150g caster sugar
Greek yogurt or crème fraiche to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease and line the base of a 9-inch cake tin with a circle of baking parchment.
2 Place the walnuts into a food processor and blitz until you have a flour like consistency.
3 Separate the eggs into 2 mixing bowls.
4 Whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest and caster sugar with an electric hand whisk until pale and creamy, then whisk the egg white to stiff peaks.
5 Mix the blended walnuts into the egg yolks, then fold in the egg whites.
6 Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared cake tin, place on the middle shelve of the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes (or until cooked in the centre and risen).
7 Meanwhile, peel the pears and cut in half, scooping out the core with a melon baller or teaspoon, and bruise the cardamom pods.
8 Add the peeled pears, saffron, cardamom pods, lemon juice, caster sugar and water to a medium sized saucepan over a low heat and poach the pears for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and infused.
9 Slice the cake into 8, and serve each slice with a poached pear on the side and a blob of Greek yogurt or crème fraiche.
Recipe courtesy of California walnuts