August 26, 2007

Pear Upside Down Cake

raking in august

i was complaining to my neighbor about all the leaves I have to rake on my front lawn. “It’s August!! Why are there so many leaves??!!” I even convinced myself that there’s something wrong with the tree.  “It’s not healthy.  It’s diseased.  This shouldn’t be happening!”

I woke up yesterday morning to that haze you only get in the Bay Area when it’s Fall. I knew that it was stupid for me to complain.  Fall is coming, and I can’t deny it.  There’s that subtle chill in the air…. It’s not scorching hot anymore…..and Martha Stewart’s Halloween decorations are at Michael’s.

This summer at our house was wonderful. I’ll have to refer back to those days of sitting on the patio drinking coffee & grilling in the evenings in my summer dresses when I’m bundled up on the couch sipping tea in a turtleneck. Goodbye open-toed shoes & skirts…hello turtlenecks & boots!

this past week i:

got a new purse! (i’m really into it so far)

new bag new shoes

reorganized my desk (i got my cards in the mail from lisa congon’s etsy shop!)

my desk in between cleaning

thought a lot about the cupcake tasting I had with Melisser & Whitney on Thursday:

our loot for tonight's sugar rush

made pear upside-down cake from this month’s issue of Sunset Magazine:

pear upside-down cake

the side view...pecans spilling over

Pear Upside-Down Cake- Sunset Magazine September 2007

-3/4cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
-2 Bosc pears, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices
-1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
-1cup chopped pecans, divided
-1/3cup bourbon
-1 teaspoon salt, divided
-1/2cup firmly packed light brown sugar
-3 eggs
-2teaspoons vanilla
-1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
-1/2teaspoon baking soda
-2cups flour
-3/4 cup plain whole or low-fat yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9-in. cake pan and arrange pear slices in a pattern on the bottom of pan. Set aside.
2. Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 10-in. frying pan (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, undisturbed, until mixture starts to brown (swirl pan to help mixture brown evenly). When mixture turns a medium amber color, add 1/2 cup pecans and cook until fragrant but not burning, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and slowly stir in bourbon and 1/2 tsp. salt. Pour over pears in buttered pan.

3. Put 3/4 cup butter, the brown sugar, and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl. Beat until smooth and a bit fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add half of the flour and beat until combined. Then beat in half of the yogurt. Repeat with remaining flour and yogurt. Stir remaining 1/2 cup pecans into batter (it will be thick).

4. Drop spoonfuls of batter over pears and sauce and spread evenly. Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack 15 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan sides and invert cake onto a plate or serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 *** It was delish!  It took forever to make the caramel sauce, though!****

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