Brown Butter Pear Upside Down Cake
- 2 semi-firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
- 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, unsalted - divided
- 2 tablespoons Bourbon or water
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
- 2 Eggs
- 2/3 cup milk, buttermilk
*These values are approximate. Per serving, based on a 2,000 Calorie diet.
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Fan out as many pear slices in the bottom of the cake pan as possible and sprinkle with the chopped crystallized ginger.
In a medium skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Keep stirring until the milk solids bubble up and eventually turns a golden brown. Pour the browned butter in a small bowl, using a spatula to get it all out. Set it inside another bowl filled with ice to cool it down. Pop it into your freezer for 15 to 20 minutes until it thickens back up.
Meanwhile, wipe out what brown butter is left in the skillet and melt 4 more tablespoons of butter along with the bourbon, light brown sugar and a pinch of kosher salt over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and the butter/bourbon/brown sugar mixture is bubbly and has slightly thickened. Pour the bourbon caramel over the pears.
To make the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, kosher salt and nutmeg and set aside.
In the bowl of you electric mixer add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, the 4 tablespoons of solidified browned butter, the caviar from one vanilla bean and the sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the speed to low and add in one egg at a time, mix until each egg is incorporated.
Alternate between the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, mixing until just combined.
Spoon the cake batter over top of the caramel covered pears and spread evenly.
Bake on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with only a few crumbs attached when inserted into the center of the cake.
Let cool for 10 minutes before running a knife along the edge of the cake and inverting it onto a clean cake stand or platter. Let cake cool for 30 minutes or so before slicing.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve.