November 21, 2017

Upside-Down Poached-Pear Cake

Recipe: Cory Vitiello


Poached Pears

  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 5 Bosc pears, peeled, quartered, cores removed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 whole clove

Steamed Pudding Batter

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced (about 1⁄4 cup lemon juice and 2 tbsp zest)
  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • Pinch salt


Yield: Serves 8

Poach Pears

  1. Stir wine with sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, making sure there’s enough liquid to cover pears. If not, add enough water to cover pears.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until pears are tender.
  4. Lift pears into bowl using slotted spoon and reserve.
  5. Increase heat to high and bring poaching liquid to boil. Cook until remaining liquid is reduced to about 1⁄2 cup. Remove from heat and return pears to liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Make Steamed Pudding Batter

  1. Arrange oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 300°F.
  2. Butter 9″-diam. cake pan (with sides at least 2″ high) and line bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Whip egg whites with electric mixer on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Stream in half of sugar, while whipping. Continue whipping until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2 more minutes after adding sugar. Transfer whites to large mixing bowl.
  4. Clean out bowl and whip egg yolks with remaining sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in remaining ingredients plus half of whipped egg whites until just combined. Fold in remaining egg whites with wooden spoon. Batter will be thin.

Assemble And Bake Cake

  1. In prepared cake pan, neatly arrange poached pear slices in circular pattern, fitting slices as tightly as possible. Pour residual poaching liquid over top of pears.
  2. Gently pour batter evenly into pan.
  3. Spray piece of foil with cooking spray and cover pan with foil (spray side down).
  4. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour. To test cake, peel foil back and check middle of cake with small knife — batter should be just cooked with slight moistness in middle.

Cool And Serve Cake

  1. Remove from oven and remove foil. Let cake cool in pan 20 minutes.
  2. While still warm, invert cake onto serving plate. Peel back any parchment stuck to cake. Serve immediately, topped with cinnamon ice cream.

Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott


House & Home December 2016