November 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
Finger tips on the window, tapping incessantly in that absent minded way that screams I have somewhere else to be; the rain that washed away the snow in the middle of the night. I grew irritated even in that place that’s not quite awake but not yet sleeping wondering why it didn’t just go then. I wanted to know what it was waiting for. The indigo sky lit from behind by the early moon light was misty grey and hovering, weighed down by the wetness and still in the lamp light. My eyes grew heavy but the light coming from beneath the door kept reminding me of all the other cracks that would not let sleep come easy. The harder I focused on sleep the farther away it got and the louder the rain tapped my window. I had somewhere else to be too but we waited it out together, the rain and I and we held on to the night sky as long as it took for the day to come. And when it did I moved slowly and the rain subsided, finally moving on. I was too tired to cook, content to just snuggle into the memory of tart cranberries tangled with the warmth of pears soft in a dark caramel like sauce. Today, the memory will have to do for my hands are weary and the day has just begun.
Cranberry Pear Upside-down cake, adapted from The Italian Dish. Serves 8 (or 4 twice!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1-2 pears, 1 1/4ish cups chopped
- juice from 1/2 – 1 orange, about a 1/4 cup
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest from 1/2 an orange
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the topping
Melt butter, brown sugar and orange juice over medium heat stirring until smooth and bubbling, set aside to cool slightly. Rinse cranberries well under cold water discarding any mushy ones and scatter into an 8 inch cake pan. Peal, core and roughly chop pears and sprinkle them into pan with the cranberries, slowly pour brown sugar-butter mixture over fruit.
For the cake batter
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, set aside. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then mix in the vanilla. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each one to make sure it is mixed well. Add orange zest and mix to incorporate. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the cream in stages: mix in about a third of the flour mixture, followed by about half the cream; mix in another third of the flour, then the rest of the cream; finally, add the last third of the dry ingredients.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites and the cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the batter in two batches. Add the batter by large blobs from a spoon or spatula and smooth out over fruit, try to run the batter right to the edge of the pan, sealing in all the fruit and buttery brown sugar. Bake until the top is slightly brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cook for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve with sweetened whipped cream flavoured with some Triple Sec if you’ve got some.