When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb
Apples get all the attention: Adam and Eve, Helen and Paris, Isaac Newton, William Tell…
Pears, to the best of my knowledge, never caused mythological wars or cast people naked out of Eden. They didn’t spark scientific satoris, or robust legends about rebellious marksmen.
This single most sublimely beautiful fruit just humbly grew.
And I believe that pears are as close to perfection as a growing thing on this earth can be.
They are hard to capture at their fragile best, which is perhaps why the more robust apples have been the chief trouble makers for so long.
Pears at the peak of ripeness, in all varieties and colors with their common ponderous shape, are a secret that you share with the universe.
When pears are ripe, forgo the lily for your touch of luxury.
And if you must cook them, try not to get in the way too much. This Pear Upside-Down Cake is not overly sweet, so you can still taste the natural sweetness of the fruit. Ginger and coriander add an enhancing hint of spice.
This cake is an antidote to the clamor of chocolate and caramel.
It’s a quiet mid-afternoon or late morning cake. A nerve-unjangling interlude between the chores and seasons.
Plus it’s easy to make and keeps well.
Way to go, pears.
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml butter melted
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml brown sugar
- 3 ripe pears quartered, cored and cut into thin slices
- 2 cups / 500 ml flour
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground coriander
- 3/4 cup / 180 ml plain yogurt sour cream or buttermilk
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 176 degrees C.
Pour melted butter into bottom of 9" pie pan. Brush up sides of the pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter.
Lay pear slices over the brown sugar.
In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger and coriander.
In separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla.
Pour yogurt mixture into flour and fold in until mixture is smooth and there are no streaks of dry flour. The batter will be very stiff.
Spread the batter over the pears and place the pie pan on a baking tray. Put in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden and the cake tests clean when a toothpick is inserted in the center.
Remove from oven and immediately remove from pan by placing a serving plate or tray over the top of the cake and carefully turning it upside down. Gently lift the pie pan off of the cake. If any pear slices remain stuck to the pie pan, you can remove them and place on the cake.
Serve warm or cooled.
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