Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Caramelized Pear and Cranberry Upside Down Cake - Outdoor Wednesday
Bob adores pears and today's post is about our quest for pears and the sights we encountered on our way to an orchard to pick them. This was our first stop. If a man can call his home a castle, I guess it logically follows that a marina can be called a yacht club.
There wasn't a yacht in site, but there were sail boats and other small marine vessels, including the one that appears below.
They were having a great time, but they were in cramped quarters and the boat was riding low in the water.
...and this was the object of our quest. An orchard full of Bartlett pears to make a cake I've been wanting to try.
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The orchards of local growers are now open and bargain hunters, drawn by the lure of u-pick fruit, have descended on them with a vengeance. Pears and early apples are ripe for the picking and the pears are especially good this year. As usual, I ended up with more fruit than I had intended to pick. This lovely upside down cake with caramelized pears and cranberries is one of the recipes I've used to work my way through the glut. The recipe was developed by Matthew Kennedy. It's one of his signature desserts. The cake is simple, different and delicious. I'll definitely be making it again but I'll replace the vanilla extract with pear brandy and use a brulée torch to create a more defined layer of caramel. My only disappointment was the time spent creating a ring of overlapping pear slices. They weren't discernible in the finished cake. Here's the recipe.
Caramelized Pear and Cranberry Upside-Down Cake...From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
11 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided use
3/4 cup lightly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 firm but ripe pears, peeled, halved, cored and cut in 1/8-inch slices
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside
2) Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour into cake pan. Sprinkle cranberries over syrup in cake pan; top with pear slices in an overlapping, circular pattern. Set aside.
3) Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
4) Cream remaining 1/3 cup butter with sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just combined. Add vanilla. Add dry ingredients, alternating in thirds with milk and beating until well blended. Pour batter over pears, using a spatula to cover fruit if necessary.
5) Bake cake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until edges are golden and a cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, Cool for 5 minutes.
6) Place a serving plate over cake pan; gently invert cake tapping gently to release. Serve warm. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
This recipe is being linked to Outdoor Wednesday, an event sponsored by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.