October 30, 2016

pear upside-down cake

I love apples, but replacing the common fruit with pears (which I also love) can somehow make a  cake or pie into something even more special.  If you're feeling super fancy you can try this recipe from Martha Stewart.  It's not too tough overall, except for the batter for the cake which was a bit fussy, but worth it if you want to make a special dessert with a bit of a wow factor.

Here's the recipe!

Pear Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 ripe pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou, peeled and cored

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk

1. Make the topping: Melt butter in the bottom of a 10 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until dissolved. Swirl to coat the bottom; remove from heat, and cool. Cut pears into 1/4-inch-thick wedges, and arrange them in a circular pattern over the brown-sugar mixture to cover completely; set aside.

2. Make the batter: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract; beat to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating to combine.

4. Alternating with the milk, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix, on low speed, just until the flour is incorporated.

5. In a large bowl, beat reserved egg whites with a whisk until it forms stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites into the batter. Transfer to skillet. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly, being careful not to disturb the pears.

6. Bake until well browned on top and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Run a knife around inside of pan, and immediately invert the cake onto a serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.



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