Christmas Favorite: Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread

It's pear season! This recipe has become one of our favorites for winter and the Christmas season. We first made it a few years ago with our Cooking Club when we had a "Green Christmas" cooking theme. When I start seeing pears at the market, I start craving Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread. The fun part about this dessert is that it incorporates a classic gingerbread cake with a flavorful twist of pears drenched in butter. Top the slices with Cinnamon whipped cream and you have an elegant dessert for any holiday party!

Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread

1 1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, softened
1 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
4 large Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 large cage-free eggs
1/2 cup organic dark molasses
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (a pinch)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup boiling water

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using a non-stick skillet, melt 1/2 cup of butter. Stir in 1/2 cup of brown sugar and stir until sugar melts. Add pear slices and cook, stirring occassionally until pears begin to slightly soften (about 5 minutes).
3. Arrange the pears (with all their juices and butter) in an even layer over the bottom of an 9x13 baking dish/cake pan.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat together remaining 1 cup butter with 1 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
5. Add the eggs and molasses and beat into mixture.
6. Add flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Beat until fully incorporated. Do not overmix. Turn on mixer and slowly pour in 2/3 cup hot water into the batter and blend until incorporated and batter is smooth.
7. Spoon the batter over the pears in the dish. Bake until springy to touch (approximated 35-40 minutes).
8. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on a rack.
9. While the cake is cooling, beat whipping cream. Add 1 tablespoon organic sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
10. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate (or invert individual slices with a spatula). Cut into squares and serve warm topped with cinnamon whipped cream.

Serves 10-12.
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