Pear Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake becomes Pear Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

Serves 10

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake epitomizes the “Mad Men” era of desserts with the neat rings of canned pineapple and a Maraschino cherry in the middle of each ring. Pears or apples are used in the traditional French version of this recipe, Tarte Tatin. This recipe calls for pears, but brings them back home to the United States by using a cornmeal cake.

  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine 1⁄4 cup butter and brown sugar in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet with at least 2-inch sides. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and arrange pears in a circular pattern in the bottom of the skillet.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat together remaining 1⁄2 cup butter with sugar with electric beaters about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, mixing only until just combined. Carefully spoon batter over pears. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean from the center. Cool in skillet on rack about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and carefully invert onto a serving platter. Cool and cut into wedges.