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Upside-down pear gingerbread
This recipe comes from registered dietitian Jennifer Motl, a longtime Healthy Living columnist, who calls this “a fresh, autumnal version of pineapple-upside down cake.” The recipe is adapted from “Simply in Season,” a cookbook by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert.
Motl says: “Topped with pear slices drenched in buttery, caramel syrup, this cake looks and tastes sweet. Deceptively healthier than traditional cakes, it’s hard to tell this recipe uses whole grains, fresh fruits and heart-healthy canola oil, so it’s far lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar. Upside-down pear gingerbread makes a sweet ending for a simple meal including any protein and veggie, such as Parmesan-baked fish served with steamed cabbage or green beans.”
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced thinly
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour if possible)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- ½ cup honey or brown sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine brown sugar, butter and water in ovenproof, microwavable casserole dish.
- Microwave on low until butter melts. Stir.
- Arrange pears on top of syrup in starburst pattern, like spokes of a wheel.
- In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices. Stir. Set aside this bowl of dry ingredients.
- In separate, large mixing bowl, beat together canola oil, honey, egg and milk.
- Add dry ingredients (flour mixture) to larger bowl of wet ingredients. Stir until just combined—do not overmix.
- Spoon batter over pears in casserole dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick in center of cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool for about three minutes.
- Put large platter on top of casserole dish. Using oven mitts to protect your hands, carefully hold platter on top of casserole dish and turn over, so pears and syrup are revealed. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.
Notes from Motl:
I like to use Bosc pears, with their lovely vanilla aroma, but any pear will do. Slice thinly, about ¼- to 1/2 –inch thick, so they get buttery soft.
Whole-wheat pastry flour gives a more velvety cake than stone-ground whole wheat, but you can use either.
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