A few years ago, this new kid on the block joined our work team. I was already pootling on the wrong side of thirty and did not need an enthusiastic, hopeful, Gen Y to remind me of the fact. But before you could say ‘hello cynic’ she had worked her magic. She made friends. With EVERYONE. From colleagues at work, our clients, to random strangers we met during our work travels, she sprinkled charm dust on people. A country I love with a deep passion is Sri Lanka (think cinnamon, and vanilla!) and I had the absolute delight of exploring Colombo with her. Investigating the various sambols, wiping streaming eyes over kottu parotta, bonding over the most delicious hoppers, working our way through various street food along the beach (ending with shared drinks and dessert with the sea spraying our faces) pootling through a Sunday street art exhibition hunting for ‘zen’, I could go on with the stories. So as you can guess, it was a bummer when she quit the firm to go chase some new dreams.
She left for each of us, this Monday, a personalized goodbye note and a copy of the Holstee Manifesto. Mine was accompanied by a big cut out
What’s your superpower?”
The “see you soon” cake I baked for her last day at work was the Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake – a sure shot winner from Smitten Kitchen. This was my second time making the cake – the first, ironically, to celebrate SG’s brother’s new job a few months back. If you have a few spare pears, I suggest pulling out the bake ware and hitting the oven now. No need to wait for someone to move jobs.
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, at room-temperature
- 113 gms unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 pears
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
- Grease and flour a 9 inch spring form.
- Peel and dice the pears and keep aside
- If you are using baking chocolate – like I did – chop coarsely
- Sieve together the flour, baking powder, and the salt.
- To brown the butter, on medium heat, melt butter in a large, heavy, saucepan. On simmer, cook for 6-8 minutes, till the butter browns.
- Using your mixer (good time to put to use a stand mixer if you have one) whisk the eggs, on high, for about 7-9 minutes till pale and thick.
- Add the sugar and whip for a minute more
- Don’t overwhip. Gently fold in the flour and butter, alternating between the two (1/3 flour, ½ butter, then 1/3 flour and half butter and finally 1/3 flour).
- Spoon the thick batter into the tin. Sprinkle with pears and chocolate
- In a preheated 180 degrees C oven, bake for 40-50 minutes, till the cake springs back to touch.
Though the cake looked done, the inserted toothpick seemed to a wee bit not-dry. So I baked for any extra few minutes (and nearly burnt it).I stored the cake in the fridge. I would advocate against it. It tastes so much better warm or at least at room temperature.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.
To quote Holstee,” Do What You Love and Do it Often.” Here’s to each of us doing something we love. And a special wish for my friend that she lives with passion and creativity, savoring every single bite of life.