I know without even looking at the calendar that it's the first weekend of December:
- With a week off between my last work contract and the next one, I set a goal to both start and finish my Christmas shopping last week. I came very close, and am now basking in the knowledge that I don't need to visit another mall until 2017.
- We had an early celebration of Andrew's birthday yesterday, when both the girls were home. I baked his favourite cake and we enjoyed some wonderful family time together.
- Andrew put up the Christmas lights this morning, and now our house looks like it's ready for Santa!
The cake I baked on Saturday was the simple but amazing Gingerbread recipe I've shared on this blog before. But this Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread is terrific too, and a festive choice to celebrate a birthday, the holiday season, or being almost done your Christmas shopping.
2 1/2 firm pears (preferably Bosc)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup molasses (preferably mild)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Peel and core pears and cut each into 8 wedges. Melt butter in 10" or 12" heavy skillet until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, undisturbed, for 3 minutes (not all sugar will be melted). Arrange pears decoratively over sugar and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If the skillet handle isn't ovenproof, wrap it with a double layer of foil.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together molasses and boiling water in a small bowl. Beat together butter, brown sugar and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Then alternately mix in flour mixture and molasses in 3 batches, stirring after each addition, until smooth.
Pour batter over topping in skillet, spreading evenly and being careful not to disturb pears. Bake in middle oven until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool cake in skillet for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of skillet, then invert a large plate with a lip over top. Using pot holders to hold the skillet and plate tightly together, invert cake onto plate, replacing any pears that stick. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.