Yeasted Pear Upside Down Cake

Our recent purchase of a little yellow house on one acre of land in Lone Pine, netted us with an Apple tree and a Pear tree. The last time I visited Lone Pine, I picked a bushel of ripe Pears and wondered what to do with them. Since Family Night was coming up, I decided to make a Yeasted Pear Upside Down Cake which is very similar to a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It was a wonderful dessert for the beginning of fall, made in a cast iron skillet, not too gooey and not too sweet and perfect with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. The recipe is from Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.

Yeasted Pear Upside Down Cake
THE FRUIT

4 ripe but firm pears

3 T. butter

2 T. light brown sugar

THE CAKE

1/4 cup sugar

1 envelope active, dry yeast

1/2 cup warm milk

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups plain flour

5 T. softened butter

1 tsp. ground cardamom

Peel pears, halve and core, and slice thinly.

Melt butter in 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Add pears and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat while turning fruit to brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Arrange pear slices so they form a single layer.
Make the cake batter. Stir in additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour to make soft dough. Kneed until smooth, and press into circle the same size as the skillet. Lay it over the fruit and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake cake until its smooth, domed top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Invert skillet over plate. Slowly remove pan. If any pears stick, remove them with a fork.

Serve warm with whipping cream.

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