Make this delicious dessert when pears are at their best.
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
2 firm-ripe Bosc pears (1 lb. total)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dark molasses
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
How to Make It
Lightly butter a 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim at least 2 1/2 inches tall. Line pan with a 10-inch round of cooking parchment, pressing into bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into about 1/4-inch chunks and drop evenly over parchment in pan bottom. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup brown sugar and the crystallized ginger.
Peel pears and cut in half lengthwise, then, slicing parallel to cut edge, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. With a small knife, cut core from each slice. Arrange slices flat, in a single layer, over sugar mixture in pan, trimming pieces as needed to fit.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and allspice.
In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in molasses. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beating until incorporated, then beat on high speed just until well blended. Pour batter over pears.
Bake in a 325° regular or 300° convection oven until a toothpick inserted in center (not in fruit) comes out clean, 1 hour and 35 to 40 minutes (cake center may settle slightly). Let cool in pan on a rack about 20 minutes. Remove pan sides. Invert a platter over cake, then, holding the two together, invert again. Carefully remove pan bottom and parchment. Serve warm.
I really liked this but my extended family weren't as pleased. Those who aren't accustomed to stronger spices and tastes like ginger did not like it. It definitely seemed to run along the lines of who experiments with different flavors and who are just meat/potato folks. I would certainly make this again but would consider the people eating it.
I have made this every holiday for the last two years and it always gets raved about. I use whole whipping cream with a dash of sugar and smigden of vanilla, hand whisked in a frozen stainless steel bowl, is well worth the effort. This year I will be making two.
My guests and I really enjoyed this cake. I served it with some ice cream. I was really looking forward to eating the left overs but a few people asked for a slice to take home and that left me with the tiniest piece. I'm definitely making this one again.
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