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    Date and pear traybake

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    Date and pear traybake

    This easy bake has no refined sugar; the sweetness comes from fruit. Who says you can't have your cake and eat it?

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus cooling
    • Cooking time: 55 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus cooling

    Serves: 16

    Ingredients

    225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
    3 pears (about 500g)
    200g medjool dates, stoned and chopped
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste
    110g self-raising flour
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tbsp baking powder
    120g ground almonds
    150g pecans, toasted
    375g soft cheese, at room temperature
    3 tbsp date nectar * (or maple syrup), plus optional extra for drizzling

    *(Available in selected stores)

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment. Peel, halve and core the pears. Put half in a food processor with the butter and dates; whizz until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and ground almonds, then pulse until the mixture just comes together. Grate the remaining pears and roughly chop 100g toasted pecans, then stir both into the batter.

    2. Spoon the batter into the lined cake tin and put in the middle of the oven. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cover with foil after 30 minutes if the cake browns too fast. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    3. Once the cake is cool, beat together the soft cheese and date nectar (or maple syrup). Spread over the cake using a palette knife. Decorate with the remaining 50g toasted pecans and drizzle over some extra nectar or syrup, if liked, then cut into 16 squares to serve.

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose & Partners Food, January 2020 issue. Download the Waitrose & Partners Food app for the full issue

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