- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 large, firm-ripe pears, such as Bosc, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup cane syrup or molasses
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 5 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- 1 recipe Molasses Ice Cream, recipe follows
In a large skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the pears and cook until the pears are tender and slightly caramelized, but still retain their shape, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. (You may need to cook the pears in 2 batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.) When the pears begin to have a nice color on both sides, add the brown sugar and pecans and cook, stirring gently, to coat the pears with the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and using the 2 teaspoons of butter, lightly grease a 10-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides. Arrange the slightly cooled pears and pecans in a single layer in the bottom of the cake pan. Pour any syrup from caramelizing into the cake pan as well.
Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, molasses, and boiling water. Add sugar mixture to the flour mixture, blending just until combined. Fold the crystallized ginger into the batter and pour into the prepared pan over the pears.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake portion comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 5 to 7 minutes. Place a large plate or cake stand on top of the cake and carefully invert the cake. Cool slightly and serve with Molasses Ice Cream
Molasses Ice Cream:
Combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a medium-heavy saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl until frothy and lemon colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream in a slow, steady stream into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot cream, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the molasses, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.
Yield: about 1 quart