April 8, 2008

Pear gingerbread, mark 2

classics_cat: comment to 12/24/2007

Melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave. Let it cool as you prepare the pears and ginger.

You need:
4 comice pears
a good-sized finger of ginger
1 fresh lemon

Peel and dice into smallish pieces 4 comice pears. Toss in the juice of one lemon as you dice so they don’t go brown. I know it doesn’t really matter, but it keeps them looking nice, and the lemon juice is very tasty later. Peel and grate a large finger of ginger, being sure to catch all the juice, and separating out as much of the stringy fiber as you can. Don’t touch your eyes while you do this, and no matter how much you like ginger you are unlikely to enjoy the ginger juice. Just sayin’. Add about 2 TBS of oil (I use walnut) to a large skillet and saute the pear, ginger, and lemon juice until the pears soften. Add 1/3 cup plus a TBS of white sugar and stir it around, then let it bubble away until the pear is transparent and sweet. Careful while tasting, it’s like fruit LAVA. Also the sugar strings will burn you. Empty into the same bowl they came out of. The remaining fruit juice and lemon will help it come out again, as it’s now a teense sticky.

Add to the melted cooled butter and beat well:
2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar

Sift or stir together:

2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
at least 1 tsp cinnamon
at least 1 tsp ginger
a dash of allspice

Stir together:

1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey

Add the flour mixture and the molasses mixture by turns to the butter mixture, stirring well. When you’ve added the last of it, add the pears and ginger and stir it in. Turn into a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes or until done.

(Recipe for the cake part based on but changed noticeably from “Gingerbread” from The Joy of Cooking, idea from Sunshine by Robin McKinley.)

Notes: I have increased the number of eggs, and reduced the amount of hot water. The last iteration of the gingerbread was far too moist–that fourth pear, while it significantly ups the pear presence and flavor, adds so much water that a full cup of hot water in the water/syrups is way, WAY too much. I haven’t tried it this way yet, but trust me. Don’t use oil in the baking dish, and if you have a Pyrex dish, use it. The gingerbread will be happier if you do. Smear it with butter. If you use butter you won’t need flour or anything. Don’t, for the love of the gods, use Pam, okay? It’s disgusting stuff. Though I admit, it tickles the same olfactory nerve that WD-40 does, which means that I would seriously consider using Pam-for-baking as perfume, but I wouldn’t actually consume it.