Bake the Book: Ginger-Pear Skillet Cake


[Photograph: Leo Gong]

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Apples are everywhere in fall baking, but what about pears? Take away the ubiquitous fall red-wine-poached pear, you'll soon see that there are very few pear desserts out there. When you consider that the more popular member of the pome family is incorporated into nearly everything from pies to cobblers and brown bettys, it's a bit of a mystery as to why pears aren't treated with the same pastry-making regard, especially when you consider their wonderfully delicate, almost floral sweetness.

In order to get the pear a bit more dessert respect, I turned to the pages of Jennie Schacht's Farmers' Market Desserts, a seasonal baking guide that would surely give the pear its proper due.

This Ginger-Pear Skillet Cake is a wonderful introduction into the world of baking with pears. The base for the cake is a super-moist gingerbread that's mixed with both fresh and dried ginger, as well as a bit of coffee for depth, then spread into a cast iron pan and topped with sliced pears sprinkled with brown sugar and a big pinch of salt. As the cake bakes, the pear slices sink into the batter and the sugar and salt melt into them, coating them with a layer of salty, caramelly crunch.

While this cake is great straight out of the oven, it's even better the next day when the moist gingerbread has a chance to rest and get even gooier and spicier.

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Ginger-Pear Skillet Cake »

As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Farmers' Market Desserts' to give away.