I’d like you to meet an old friend of mine with a new facelift. Glazed pear shortcake was the first from-scratch cake to come out of my newlywed kitchen more than 20 years ago. So simple, yet so delicious. So elegant, yet so comforting. I used to make this dessert to serve with coffee, and it always hit the spot.
The original recipe came from a set of recipe cards my husband ordered for me in the mail (yes, the same set that had the pumpkin dessert I referred to here.) I hadn’t made the shortcake in years, though, and decided it was time to bring it back, this time with an Amaretto glaze.
So, meet Amaretto-Glazed Pear Shortcake. I hope you’ll be friends for life. If you need to skip the alcohol, don’t worry. You can just add a bit of almond extract instead. And if almond is not your thing, know that the shortcake will still be delicious without it.
My family devoured this cake in less than 24 hours. Next time, I might make two, since this recipe is so easy to throw together. (You don’t even need eggs or a mixer. It’s made like biscuits, where you cut the butter into the flour and then toss the ingredients with a fork.)
I did try using fresh pears instead of canned in the shortcake (I made an Amaretto simple syrup to go with it) but the pears were still too firm after the cake was baked. So, I recommend using the canned Bartlett pear slices in syrup, to which you can add your Amaretto. How’s that for simple?
(Recipe Source: Adapted from Great American Recipes, published in 1988)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons salted butter (cut in six pieces)
- 3/4 cup milk (2% is fine)
- 16- ounce can of sliced Bartlett pears in syrup (reserve 1/4 cup syrup)
- 1/2 tablespoon Amaretto liquor (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray. Drain the pears, reserving 1/4 cup of syrup. Pat the pears dry with paper towels.
- In a medium bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Pour the milk over the flour mixture. Toss with a fork until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the cake pan. Smooth the surface and arrange the pears on top in a circular pattern.
- Whisk the reserved syrup with Amaretto and brush some on the pears and batter (you will brush more on later, after it bakes.) Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes. Brush again with some Amaretto syrup (you don't have to use the entire amount.)
- Invert the cake onto a plate. Remove the pan and invert again onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve the shortcake with any extra Amaretto syrup brushed on the top and sides, if desired. You can add whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you wish. Store the shortcake covered at room temperature.
If you need to skip the alcohol, you can add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract to the syrup instead. If you can't use almond, just omit it.