I googled medlars and site after site came up with the rosehip-looking type. Dead end after dead end. So I put my faith in google; I typed “soft fruit medlars that look a bit like apricots” and bingo! I asked and the internet delivered. What I had were loquats aka Japanese medlars aka Japanese/Chinese plums or biwa if you prefer. It seems to be the fruit of a thousand names!
Mine felt like ripe apricots and the skin peeled off easily without needing to dip the fruit in boiling water. For this cake I probably could have left the skin on as it’s very thin but I didn’t want to risk it. The stone comes out easily but I also peeled away the thin white papery layer around it.
They have a beautiful flavour and were really juicy. Imagine a less gingery mango with elements of orange, peach and apricot and you’d be getting close. Fruity and sweet at first but finishing with a sharper acidic flavour I really fell for them in a big way and wished I’d come across them sooner.
This upside down cake contains cinnamon and vanilla, two spices that work well with most fruits. You could serve this cake at room temperature for afternoon tea, or hot with custard or ice cream for dessert.
Here’s to more happy discoveries at the greengrocers!
60g unsalted butter
125g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
140g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 1 white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder