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Introduction :: Soups and dashi :: Egg dishes :: Sushi :: Fast food :: Noodles and rice :: Side dishes :: Desserts
Serves 6, vegan
Asian pears tend to be more crispy than the European pear. They remain crisp and juicy even as they age (picture in glossary) . Use any pear that you can buy locally. This recipe will work just as well as a basic vegan green tea cake and baked as a cake and not steamed. Leave out the pears if you wish and add a different fruit.

For the pears
2 Asian pears
60g (2oz) sugar
2 tbsp sake

For the sponge
170g (26oz)self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons green tea powder
100g (4oz) icing sugar
100ml (7 tbsp, 3½floz) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
100ml (7 tbsp, 3½floz) water or soy milk

First of all heat the 60g of sugar in a pan until it forms a caramel. Be careful as it will be very hot. Peel and chop the pears and add them to the caramel. Add the sake and simmer the pears in the sake syrup until they are soft all of the way through but not falling apart.
In a bowl mix all of the sponge ingredients together.
Line a six cake muffin tin or a single large cake tin with baking parchment.
Put in the sponge filling and top with the cooked pears draining off most of the sake syrup, leaving it in the pan for later, as you do so. Place the muffin or cake tin in a larger high sided baking tray/tin and put 2cm (1 inch) depth of hot water in the base of the baking tray. Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and seal the edges. Cook this in a medium to high oven for 1 hour.
Take off the foil and serve or reheat in the microwave later. Serve with some of the pear/sake syrup poured over.
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Green tea powder or maccha is fine powdered green tea usually used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Because of it's deep green colour it is often used to colour and flavour foods such as soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of Japanese confectionery.
Asian pears comprise a large group of pears that are crisp in texture and, when mature, are good to eat as soon as harvested or for several months after picking if held in cold storage. This ready-to-eat feature may make them more acceptable to some people than European pears that are usually served when soft and juicy, which condition takes about a week to occur after removal from cold storage. Asian pears do not change texture after picking or storage as do European pears such as 'Bartlett' or 'Comice'. Often Asian pears are called apple pears because they are crisp and juicy like apples but with a different and distinctive texture. They also are called salad pears, Nashi (Japanese for "pear"), Oriental, Chinese or Japanese pears (Nihonnashi).