Warm your winter with a gingered pear skillet cake

Yankee Chef logoBy Jim Bailey

The good news and bad. First, cardamom is not cheap. It is the third most expensive spice behind vanilla beans and saffron. But a little goes a long way. Substitute cinnamon for this member of the ginger family if desired.

This cake is moist, almost bread-pudding-like, and extremely flavorful. The edges will darken and caramelize, leaving a beautiful sweet crunch. As for the pears: I have tried both canned and fresh. And to me, the canned pears work especially well. With those plump, pear juice-soaked raisins, well you have yourself a treat.

Ginger pear cake is spicy and warm.

Ginger pear cake is spicy and warm.

Nonstick cooking spray
1(15-ounce)can halved pears in pear juice
1/2 teaspoon rum or almond extract
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray liberally. Remove pears from juice and slice each half into 4 to 5 thin wedges.

Place in a bowl and toss with rum extract; set aside. Put the pear juice in a microwave-safe bowl with the raisins, cover with a small plate and microwave on high for 2 minutes; set aside covered.

In a large bowl, blend the flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, baking powder and ground ginger. Add the milk, eggs, melted butter and pear juice/raisin mixture. Blend well and pour into prepared skillet.

Top with the sliced pears, decoratively, spooning juice at the bottom of the bowl over the top. In a small bowl, mix together remaining brown sugar with the cardamom and evenly sprinkle over the pears.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is firm in the center when touched. Remove to cool slightly before slicing to serve.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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