Thursday, September 24, 2009
Caramelized Pear & Ginger Cake
I have envisioned this tangy, sweet and delish flavor combo for a while now. Ginger and Pears. I could not get this out of my mind, so I came up with a way to combine these two flavors into a sort of cobbler like cake. The cake has a bottom layer, then the fruit, and then topped again with small pieces of dough that was used for the bottom layered on top of the fruit.
Pears have such a great sweet and mild taste, the addition of the ginger and some other spices really are a nice addition to this cake.
Here is what you will need:
4 - 5 pears
1/2 c water
2 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp fresh all spice
vegan sugar to caramelize pears
For the dough:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (i used the chunkier, kosher salt here)
1 cup vegan sugar
3/4 cup vegan earth balance
3 egg equivalents for Ener-G (use warm water)
Begin by making the dough, as it will need to set in the freezer for about 30 minutes for you to be able to handle it easier, and it won't be a sticky mess.
Begin by adding the earth balance and the 1 cup vegan sugar into your mixer, beat for about 5 minutes so it becomes a nice, light, fluffy mixture. In a seperate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Also mix 3 egg equivalents of Ener-G together.
When your sugar and butter mixture is nice and fluffy, slowly add about 1/3 of your ener-g mixture at a time, making sure each 1/3 is incorporated before adding your next 1/3. Add your bowl of dry ingredients slowly. Continue to mix until it comes together into a very smooth dough. It is going to be very sticky, wrap this up in plastic wrap and leave in your freezer for about 30 minutes.
While the dough is in the freezer, start to prepare your pears. I cut mine in half length wise, then in half again. Do this to all of your pears. Then, take a small plate and pour some of your vegan sugar onto it. This will allow you to place each pear section into the sugar to coat it.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium high, and place each pear slice into it, cut side down. They might be a bit smooshed in the pan, but that is ok. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then add your 1/2 cup of water, in addition to the ginger, nutmeg and all spice. Let this cook for another 10 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on this, you don't want the sugary syrup to burn. If it looks like it is getting too thick or burning, add a little bit of water to it. Set aside and let cool.
While the mixture cools down, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take out your plastic wrapped dough, take 1/2 of the dough and use this to create the bottom layer of the cake. I used a pie pan for mine, but I think a 9" springform pan would work nicely as well. Spread out the dough to get a nice, even bottom layer.
Take your pear mixture, and spoon the pears over the bottom dough layer. Make sure to save the sauce, but feel free to scoop out all of the small pieces of ginger and add to the pears. Take your other 1/2 of the dough and layer the top with table spoon sized chunks of dough. Try to cover almost the whole layer, but there will be small spots where the pear layer peeks through. This is ok, as the dough will spread out during baking.
Now for the neat part. Take your sugary, syrup like sauce and cook it on high heat for about 2 - 3 minutes. It will bubble like mad, start to turn a caramely brown color and get thicker.
Pour this syrup over the top of your cake. This will make the top layer of your cake have a nice, really cripsy top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is baked golden brown.
Also, learning this from experience, put another pan, like a pizza pan, underneath your cake just in case there are some juices that bubble and spill over. Not fun to clean up.
Eat right away, or let cool and savor later.