Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Caramelized Pear Upside-Down Cake

I've made something similiar, but with plums - and no caramel. And kinda different. Ok anyways.

You know how you go to buy groceries and stand in line looking at the magazines displayed? I have this really bad habit of just picking up a cooking/baking mag just because there's something yummy on the cover. And sometimes I get tricked. But I happened to pick up a special issue of The Best of Fine Cooking - Sweet Cakes. Lots of yummy recipes!

The first that caught my eye - since I happened to have bosc pears in the fridge - was this Caramelized Pear Upside-Down Cake.

2 Medium Bosc Pears (approx 1lb)
Basic Caramel (recipe to follow)
2 oz unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Basic Caramel
1C Granulated Sugar
0.25tsp fresh lemon juice
0.25C cold water

6.75oz unbleached AP flour
1.75tsp baking powder
0.5tsp ground ginger
0.5tsp ground cinnamon
.25tsp table salt
0.5C whole milk
1.5tsp vanilla extract
4oz. unsalted butter, softened
1C packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs

In a buttered 9in round pan, line bottom with parchment and butter that as well.
Cut and slice your pears lengthwise. Line them prettily around the bottom of the pan.

Make the caramel(see below for directions). Once it has turned into a medium amber, add in the pieces of butter, mixing after each addition.
Then pour over the pears.

For the batter, sift dry ingredients. Mix together milk and vanilla. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Then add brown sugar to butter and beat until lightened in color and texture. Then add in eggs, one at a time. Mixing well after each addition. Then alternate 5 times adding in dry ingredients and wet - starting and ending with the dry. Mix each time only until incorporated i.e. don't overmix. Scrape down bowl, mix one last time, then dollop over the pear/caramel top. It was a pretty fluffy batter for me! I also noticed some extra liquid in the pan - must have been front the heat of the caramel and the pears.

Definitely something to dollop, not pour out. Smooth carefully and put into preheated oven at 350.

Bake for 35-45 min until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack - let cool 10 min. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Then invert onto plate (careful! hot!).
Enjoy warm or at room temp.

Basic Caramel

Fill a measuring cup halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it. Use this to wash down sides of pot to prevent crystalization.
Stir sugar, lemon juice and cold water together. Heat to a boil. Don't forget to brush down sides of pot. Mixture will start to color (5 to 8 min.) Swirl the pot to even out color and prevent sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until it turns medium amber. Changes very quickly!

Really light and fluffy cake!! A little too cinnamony I think... very much like a coffee cake.


Justin said...

i'm not really into pears, just the regular fruit, but that looks really tasty

Cinnamon-Girl♥ said...

Too cinnamony? Ack! Not for me! I really love pears in baking - this looks excellent! And your pears are so perfectly aligned.