Pear Upside Down Cake
- 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 pears, peeled, cored and halved
- 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees F.
Stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and corn syrup and evenly coat the bottom and sides of a 10 inch glass pie plate with the mixture. When the almonds are cool, arrange around the bottom rim of the pie plate, with a few in the center, pressing them into the brown sugar mixture. Arrange the pear halves like spokes of a wheel on top of the brown sugar mixture.
In a mixing bowl, combine the pastry flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and thoroughly mix.
In another bowl, whisk together the softened butter, sour cream, egg yolks and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer at medium speed about 1 1/2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until thick and smooth.
Using a spatula, spread the batter evenly over the fruit, building up the outside edges so the cake will be level when baked. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool 3 to 5 minutes (no longer) and then invert onto a serving plate, repositioning the fruit as necessary.
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