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Pear-Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Whiskey Whipped Cream
(recipe, Kimberly Culbertson)
This was inspired by my neighbors, Celeste and Jory, who had a fantastic harvest of Bosc pears in their parking strip this year. They had so much, there was enough for them, us, their friends and lots of others. It was a lovely gift, and we thank them.
This recipe was also chosen by NPR for their recent Ginger recipe contest. See the judging at http://www.npr.org/blogs/sundaysoapbox/2009/11/andthegingerrecipewinners_1.html
- Topping of caramelized pears:
- 3 Medium Bosc Pears, sliced in half
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ stick butter
- 1 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, chopped finely
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. Baking Powder
- ½ tsp. ground Cardamom (preferably freshly ground)
- ¼ tsp. grated Nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
- 1 in ginger root (peeled and grated) Make sure it is very fresh and plump.
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar, preferably raw or demerara
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup whole milk
- Whiskey Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup whipping cream, chilled
- 1 tsp. sugar, preferably raw or demerara
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. whiskey, infused with crystallized ginger*
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Caramelize the pears:
- Peel pears, split lengthwise and core. Dip cut sides into sugar. Reserve any remaining sugar.
- Melt butter in a seasoned heavy 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low-to moderate heat on the stovetop until it stops foaming. Arrange pears, symmetrically, sugar side , with remaining sugar on the skillet until the sugar begins to caramelize to a golden color. At that point, remove the skillet from the cooktop and sprinkle with the crystallized ginger.
- Make the cake:
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Beat the butter, sugar and ginger pulp in a bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and milk, alternating. Mix at low speed and just until combined.
- Pour the batter over the slightly cooled caramelized pear topping. Reposition them if they shift. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top looks golden and a wooden tester comes out clean the first time.
- Cool the cake for 5 – 10 minutes. Loosen the cake with a thin knife around the edge of the skillet. Put a plate on the skillet and quickly invert it to tip the cake onto the plate. If necessary, reposition the pears.
- Make Whiskey Whipped Cream:
- Beat the cream with the sugar, infused whiskey and vanilla. Beat it until it forms soft peaks.
- Serve the cake slightly warm or at room temperature with chilled whiskey whipped cream.