It took reading the sassy radish post to finally get me to make a recipe that I have apparently had sitting around for a few months in my October issue of Gourmet. I love gingerbread ever since eating lots of it in the Czech Republic but have never made it myself. Except for grating the ginger, which was a bit unwieldy, it seemed pretty simple so I gave it a shot! Also I loved the fact that it had pears (and I could use some molasses I had sitting around). I was a little nervous right after I dumped in the melted butter that the eggs might start cooking a bit early, but no scrambled eggs emerged. I also grated the ginger on a regular grater (my first try was with the zester to get the finest grate possible, but when it appeared I would never be done, I bailed on that idea).
Oddly it took about 15 minutes longer to finish baking than the recipe called for, I’m not sure why as the oven was very much pre-heated. I poked anyway after 35 minutes even though I could see that the center of the cake was shivering like jello when I pulled it out to test it. As it was after another 5 minutes. So as my pictures show, there are lots of unnecessary little holes poked into the top of the cake.
After letting it cool we enjoyed a few pieces. It’s very clear that fresh ginger was used in this recipe instead of dried. I’m not a huge fan, but this was just enough to not be overwhelming. Not being such a fan of fresh ginger however I would be happy enough to make this recipe with dried ginger, which I’m more likely to have on hand, but who knows what the proportions would be. I suppose the liquid would have to be adjusted downwards slightly. The effort it might take to figure this out probably means if I make this again I’ll just use the fresh ginger. It didn’t exactly take me 20 minutes to prepare, but then again I always have to add on to the estimated time for these recipes. (especially if we’re talking about Gourmet!)
Updated Feb 13, 2010: I have recently learned that you can buy pre-grated ginger in a jar (much like pre-minced garlic). I usually like to do these things myself, but I hate dealing with ginger so much this is just the ticket!
Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake (Adapted from Gourmet, October 2008)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated peeled ginger
1 Bosc pear, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, knocking out excess.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.
On low heat, melt butter with water.
Beat together brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well. Beat in flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Add butter mixture and ginger, beating just until smooth. Pour into cake pan.
Peel pear and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Scatter over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly.