Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread, Mary Mizwa(food & wine)

This is a really fabulous fall dessert. It’s very dense and molasses-y, and beautiful because the pear slices form a pinwheel design on top. The recipe is from cookbook author Jeanne Lemlin.

The topping:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 ripe but firm pears, preferably Bosc or Anjou

The cake:
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup sour milk
4 tablespoons melted butter

Lightly sweetened whipped cream (spiked with rum or brandy)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan (not springform).

2. To prepare the topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir together until blended. Scrape into the pan and spread evenly.

3.Peel and slice each pear into quarters, then remove and discard the cores. Slice each quarter into 3 slices. Arrange the 24 slices evenly around the pan.

4.To make the cake, in a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In a separate bowl beat together the egg, brown sugar, molasses, sour milk, and melted butter. Scrape into the flour mixture and mix until well blended.

5. Pour the batter over the pears. Bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with the whipped cream. serves 8