Pear, orange and thyme shortbread cake
This gorgeous shortbread cake is filled with delicate flavour from pear, orange and thyme. It makes a show-stopping Mother’s Day dessert.
Note: + Cooling & 45 mins chilling time
- 250g butter, softened
- 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
- 1 Coles Australian Free Range Egg
- 3 1/4 cups (485g) plain flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 pears, peeled
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar, extra
- 1 orange, zested, juiced
- 3 thyme sprigs
- Thyme sprigs, extra, to decorate
- 430g butter, softened
- 4 1/3 cups (695g) icing sugar mixture
- 3/4 cup (90g) custard powder
- 2 tbs milk
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Add the flour and mixed spice and beat on low until the dough just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead until smooth. Divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 mins to chill.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 4 baking trays with baking paper. Roll out each dough portion between 2 pieces of baking paper to a 3mm-thick disc. Use a small sharp knife to cut a 22cm disc from each piece of dough. Place on the lined trays and prick discs with a fork. Place in the fridge for 15 mins to chill.
Bake, swapping the trays halfway through cooking, for 10-15 mins or until light golden. Set aside on trays to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the pears, extra sugar, orange zest, orange juice and thyme in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat for 5 mins or until the sugar dissolves. Cover with a piece of baking paper to keep the pears submerged in the cooking liquid. Cook, turning occasionally, for 15 mins or until tender. Transfer the pears to a heatproof bowl. Increase heat to high and bring syrup to the boil. Cook for 3-5 mins or until the syrup thickens slightly. Set aside to cool.
To make the custard buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter in a bowl until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar and custard powder, in batches, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and beat until combined.
Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Place 1 biscuit disc on a serving plate. Pipe one-quarter of the buttercream evenly over the biscuit. Drizzle with a little of the syrup. Continue layering with remaining biscuits, buttercream and syrup. Carefully cut 1 pear into quarters. Arrange the pear quarters and remaining pear over the cake with the extra thyme.