Did you know that there are over 3,000 varieties of pears grown worldwide? Most of the pears in the U.S. grow in the Northwest, principally Oregon and Washington. The United States is the third largest pear producing country in the world. The 7 favorite U.S. varieties are: Bosc, Red Anjou, Red Bartlett, Green Anjou, Bartlett and Comice.
A pear is ripe when the neck is soft to the touch or when the pear has turned from green to red. If you buy hard pears, leave them on your counter at room temperature for a few days to ripen. There are about 100 calories in a medium size pear and pears contain dietary fiber and potassium health benefits but no saturated fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
Although the recipe below is perfect for your Thanksgiving or other holiday table, pears are available year-round. This cake is a sweet, dense, moist cake and a real winner.
Pear Cornmeal Cake with Vanilla Syrup
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (for pan)
- 1 ¼ cup flour, all-purpose
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup cornmeal, yellow
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 ¼ cups sugar (divided)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (for cake)
- 2 pears, ripe and each cut into 8 wedges
- 1 vanilla bean
Brush the melted butter around the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
All the ingredients can be stirred by hand. Stir the flour, salt, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and 1 cup of the sugar. Mix the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter in another bowl. Incorporate the two sets of ingredients together and put in the cut pears.
To the springform pan, add the batter. Bake 45 minutes and cake test it. Put on a wire rack so the cake can cool for 15 minutes, then remove from springform pan.
While the cake is baking cut the vanilla bean in ½. Heat the vanilla bean and its contents, ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water in a pan. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Let sit for 30 minutes after you take it off the heat or until the cake is baked. Discard the vanilla bean.
Brush the top and sides of the cake with the vanilla syrup when the cake comes out of the oven.
Serve at room temperature or warm. Serves 8!
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