Walnut-Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake

*Walnut-Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake*
Makes 12 servings

A beautifully moist coffee cake with a tasty layer of pear running through it's centre.

1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup plain flour
2 medium pears, peeled, cored and sliced (approx. 2 cups)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 3/4 cup of plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large free range eggs
1 (8-oz) carton sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Grease a 9-inch spring form pan or a 9-inch square baking pan.  Set aside.

Combine the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, rub the butter into the 1/3 cup of flour until crumbly.  Stir in 3/4 cup of the nut mixture.  Set this aside. (This will be the topping.)  Reserve the remainder of the nut mixture.

Toss the pear slices with lemon juice and set aside.

Combine the 1 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Beat the 1/2 cup softened butter in a large bowl for about 30 seconds.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture, alternately, with the sour cream, beating on low after each addition until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the batter in the prepared pan.  Lay the pear slices on top and then sprinkle them with the reserved nut mixture.  Spread the remainder of the batter over top to cover pears.  Sprinkle with the topping mixture over all.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides.  Allow to cool for half an hour before serving.  Serve warm.