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.