Monday, October 12, 2020

Pears and Gingerbread

On the face of it, pears and gingerbread is an odd combination. Pears are fresh, light, juicy with a distinctive taste, but a mild one. Gingerbread, on the other hand, is best when it's assertive, bold and full of strong ginger flavor. You would think that the gingerbread would overpower the pear.

But, in this recipe at least, it doesn't. The slices of pear are visually lovely, sitting pale and perfect on top of the dark gingerbread. They are a fine counterpoint and hold their own in the flavor department if the pears are ripe and juicy. I was lucky enough to be given some local pears a few weeks ago. I made the cake when they had ripened to perfection. The gingerbread has a lot of molasses and both fresh and ground ginger. I also goofed and left out the vegetable oil, but Sweetie and I agreed that it really didn't need the additional fat.

Although the recipe was for one cake baked in a large skillet, I made two small cakes in springform pans, plus a slightly larger cake in a 6-inch skillet. That way I was able to give the two small cakes to neighbors, including the neighbor who gave us the pears. A nice full circle! I'm going to give you the recipe for the single cake in the large skillet.

This is a really, really delicious cake, moist, strongly flavored with ginger and molasses and a hint of lemon. I served Sweetie his first piece when it was still warm. I added more pear slices to the plate and a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream. He was delighted!

Pear Gingerbread Cake for a 10.5-inch skillet
by Lodge (the cast iron people)

3 medium-sized firm, ripe pears, cored, peeled and sliced into eighths 
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup vegetable oil (optional)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (peel first)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground loves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat. When butter has fully melted, turn skillet to coat the sides up to the rim. Sprinkle brown sugar over the surface. Wait 3-4 minutes until sugar has partially melted, then stir with a silicon spatula to combine the butter and partially melted brown sugar. Spread evenly over the pan bottom. Arrange sliced pears on top of the butter/sugar mixture in a nice pattern. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine  boiling water and molasses, stirring until well blended. Add oil (if using), ginger, ground ginger, and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combing flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Mix half the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture, then add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.

Carefully pour or scoop the batter over the pears, being careful not to dislodge the pattern. If needed, use and offset spatula to smooth the batter over the fruit to the edges of the pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or until a tester in the middle of the cake comes out clean (test at 25 minutes).

Let the cake sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then loosen the cake by running a knife around the edge of the skillet. Place a large plate or serving platter over the pan and, using potholders, carefully invert the skillet so that the cake falls onto the plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1 comment :

  1. Last year our tree gave me four amazing Asian pears.
    This year I had one big new kind of pear... which was amusing and confusing (the tree is grated - possibly three kinds of pears. Our landlord LOVES doing that, and has already promised us new pomegranates for next year.)