This week something new and something blue arrived in my kitchen for a coffee challenge. My task was to use this DeLonghi coffee machine – called the Vintage Icona Bar Pump Espresso Machine to create a coffee-inspired recipe. So, with a cup of freshly-brewed coffee to hand, I set about creating a perfect afternoon treat and came up with a traybake with a twist – my Espresso Caramel Pear Squares.
Since we’re travelling to Italy quite soon, my initial thoughts of a coffee-inspired recipe turned to Affogato. Affogato in Italian means “drowned” and there is a simple dessert where a scoop of ice-cream or gelato is topped with espresso. I look forward to plenty of those in Emiligia-Romagna. However, my thoughts then drifted to cake (this usually happens) and so I began tinkering with my mother’s fail-safe tray-bake recipe to create these espresso-infused baked topped with a very simple espresso caramel chocolate drizzle. I also love adding fresh fruit to my cakes and so a couple of British seasonal pears found their way in, too. I found the milk chocolate caramel drops in my local supermarket in the baking section. I often add a tablespoon or two of yoghurt to my traybakes, but using the pears and the liquid espresso gave this cake a lovely moistness in itself. You could use sliced apples, and it would work with stoned plums, too.
I hope you get a chance to try this recipe. The shot of espresso adds a very subtle coffee flavour – it doesn’t so much taste like a traditional ‘coffee’ cake. The pears keep the bake lovely and moist and if there is any left, it keeps superbly well, too, in an airtight container.
The Vintage Icona Bar Pump machine has a milk steamer, called the ‘cappuccino system’ just on the right-hand-side, so you can either serve your cake with an espresso, or create a longer cappuccino of latte – from the comfort of your own home.The machine will even warm you coffee cups for you, too!
The British seasonal pears also make this recipe a great candidate for my Simple and in Season monthly community blog event.
With many thanks to DeLonghi UK for inviting me to take part in this coffee challenge and for sending me this beautiful machine to try at home. You can follow our progress on Twitter using the hashtag #coffeechallenge.
Can I tempt you with a square…?