Chef Tse: Pear Gingerbread

      Pear Gingerbread
      From the kitchen of Chez Tse

      I love this recipe because it celebrates the flavors of the season. It's quick to make for your next holiday party and it doubles a great hostess gift. Choose ripe but firm pears - I buy organic ones from the Hood River Valley. Dust with a little powdered sugar or sprinkle with crystallized ginger for a special finish.

      Serves 8

      4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
      1/3 cup brown sugar
      1 large egg, room temperature
      1/4 cup molasses
      1 1/2 cups all-purposed, unbleached flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
      1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      2 pinches ground cloves
      1 pinch Kosher salt
      2/3 cups 2% milk
      1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
      2 medium pears, such as Bosc, peeled, cored and cut in 1/4 inch slices
      Nonstick cooking spray

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat butter using a handheld mixer until soft. Add sugar and cream together until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula. Add egg and mix until completely incorporated. Add molasses and mix until completely incorporated.

      In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In a small bowl, mix together grated ginger and milk. Pour 1/3rd of dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Pour in half of milk and mix to combine. Repeat with remaining ingredients, alternating between wet and dry ingredients.

      Spray a nonstick 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Lay pear slices in bottom of pan in a decorative circle. Pour cake batter over top and tap pan gently on counter so batter fills in hole between pears. Bake in oven until cake bounces back when pressed on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cake cool on wire rack 30 minutes. Invert serving plate over cake and flip over to unmold. Cut cake into slices and serve.