Perfectly Pear[ed]

This year I discovered that the pears that grow in my yard are totally edible and bodaciously delicious. That was a revelation all its own, but then I also discovered many recipes that called for pears! So began a nice obsession with cooking with pears. Pretty much turns out you can use them for nearly anything you can use apples for....nearly.

Pear Custard Pie 
I used the pears in a variety of capacities including getting some of them drunk on rum and then canning them. Next, my mom, my mother-in-law and I decided it was time to make some pies. We do a ton of apple pies that we freeze, but this year we thought we would try a new incarnation: a pear-apple pie. It's now sitting happily in my freezer.

That same day, I also had the opportunity to try a recipe in my Simply In Season cookbook, which is quickly becoming one of my very favorite cookbooks, for a pear custard pie. This pie was not only easy, but everything I had hoped for and MORE. It was perfect with that yummy pear taste and that sweet custard style. Definitely something you could throw together for a last minute potluck invite.

Upside Down Pear Gingerbread 
But the winner in the pear dessert marathon we had imposed on ourselves was an upside down pear gingerbread recipe that was just too divine to pass up. I am really glad that I took a picture before anyone had the chance to eat it because it was gone in a New York millisecond. The stuff was so lovely and good that it was practically inhaled by anyone who came in contact with it. Of these loaves, I had one slice. One glorious slice. The recipe is so good, I just had to share it with all of you, so it's at the bottom of the post. 

Pears are quickly becoming my new favorite fruit and one that I am so absolutely happy to enjoy for free from my tree. I am such a fan of fruit trees that I may plant some more around these parts.

Upside Down Pear Gingerbread 

1/4 Cup brown sugar 
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon butter 
1 tablespoon water 
Combine in an overproof, microwavable casserole dish.
Microwave on low until butter melts. Stir*

*BIW NOTE: We made our one loaf into four small loaves and I did this step in the oven, not the microwave. 

2 ripe pears (peeled, cored and sliced) 
Arrange on top of syrup 

1 cup flour 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, ground allspice, salt 
Stir together, set aside. 

1/3 cup butter (softened) 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1 egg
In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat another minute. 

1/2 cup molasses or honey*
1/2 cup buttermilk 
Alternately add molasses and buttermilk with dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Spoon over pears in baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted comes out clear, 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool about 3 minutes. Turn onto platter. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream. 

*BIW NOTE: We used honey and didn't serve it with whipped cream. It was awesome. 

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