The perfect dessert for a snowy night includes pears (thinly sliced), cloves, cinnamon, crystallized ginger, molasses. Mmmmm.
I highly recommend baking a pear upside-down ginger cake to take to a friend's house for dinner. And if at all possible, place the still-warm cake into the front seat of your car, so you can inhale the gingery aroma while you drive through the snow. It is wintry moments like this that I will pine for in August.
This granite buttress is a well-known landmark in Granite Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.
It may be spring in your neck of the woods, but here in Jackson Hole it is still full-blown winter, thank goodness. We are in the middle of a winter storm cycle that puts big smiles on our faces.
This was Cindee's first foray into Granite Canyon as well, but Doug was a veteran.
The cake was meant to be a celebration of sorts. A celebration of a successful backcountry tour with friends into Granite Canyon (my first). A celebration of Casey's arrival on break from nursing school. A celebration of Erich's very respectable finish in a 50k classic ski race competing against kids half his age.
You can see why skiers love Granite Canyon: it has a beautiful fall line.
A celebration of winter and friends, skiing and kids, pears and ginger.
Mountain Man shows us the safest way down.
Granite Canyon has been on my skiing to-do list for many years. Notorious for its steep terrain, stunning views in bounds of Grand Teton National Park, but out of bounds of the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, Granite Canyon is a famous avalanche path. Not wanting to get caught in a deadly avalanche, I have been waiting for the perfect day to ski Granite.
Chris takes a line by the trees for added safety.
With the avalanche danger deemed "low", and the snow starting to fall in earnest, it was now or never. Mountain Man, who has skied Granite Canyon several dozen times, served as our guide.
Cindee is all smiles as we get closer to the bottom.
We were all smiles at the bottom, even though we had a grueling traverse ahead of us to get out.
Doug used to be my partner in medical practice; now he is back to being my partner in adventure.
After skiing all day, Chris made us an amazing dinner of homemade bloody marys, pan-seared sea bass with a green curry sauce, stir-fried veggies and potato pancakes. Will get recipes and report back.
It was a gorgeous day. All I wanted to do to top it off, was to bake a cake.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Pear upside-down ginger cake
This recipe was adapted from Winter Gatherings by Rick Rodgers. I love the kick it gets from crystallized ginger, and the pears make it ultra-moist. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, it makes the perfect winter dessert.
I made no adaptations for altitude. It's a very forgiving cake.
l like the crystallized ginger that comes in coins. It stays moist and is easy to chop.
- 3 firm but ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored and quartered, then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cups unsulfured molasses, such as "Mother's"
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped fine
Sliced pears form the bottom layer of this spicy, gingery cake.
- Preheat oven to 350F, and place the rack in the center of the oven.
- Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
- Place the pears on the bottom of the pan. You can arrange them in a pretty pattern, or just spread them out willy-nilly in an even layer.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt together.
- Beat the butter with the sugar with a hand or standing mixer set on high speed for about 3 minutes. The mixture should be pale yellow and very smooth.
- Beat in the molasses, then add the eggs one at a time.
- With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the boiling water, then another third of the flour mixture, and the rest of the boiling water, finishing with the rest of the flour, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Stir in the crystallized ginger, and pour the thin batter over the pears into the baking pan.
- Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once cool, invert generous squares onto a plate, and top with whipped cream.
Here's your culinary word...
Speck: German and Italian for "bacon". In Germany, it is pronounced SHPECK, and is essentially lard. In Italy, it is pronounced SPEHK, and it resembles American bacon more. True Italian Speck comes from the hog legs, rather than the belly. Speck is salted and seasoned with black pepper, pimento, garlic and juniper berries before being cured for about a month. It then undergoes 10 days of cold-smoking with ash, beechwood or juniper. Sliced very thin, speck is served as an antipasto, or it can be used in cooking like bacon or pancetta.
from The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst