Pear Gingerbread Crumb Cake

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I know it’s still pretty hot out there, but there’s a certain slant to the light these mornings, and I’m celebrating that hint of change with the combination of pear and gingerbread.  I love them together.  The sweet juicy pear tempers the warm spicy gingerbread flavors and the whole thing just screams coziness.  This one can be breakfast or dessert, and  it satisfies my craving for something fall-ish in that crazy in-between season where we want fresh tomatoes one minute and pumpkin pancakes the next, although for me it’s mostly about the pumpkin pancakes.

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Pears can be stunningly beautiful, even straight from the supermarket bin, and if you choose carefully you can have a work of art on your counter for a few days before making this cake.  I know there are probably big differences between the varieties but I’m not fussy, I use whatever looks good.  Today it’s  these bosc pears.  Just try not to let them get too mushy ripe before you use them, they’ll bake up better if they are still a little firm.

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This recipe was really just an excuse to use my new Muscavado sugar.  It’s a rich,  moist, minimally processed brown sugar and it smells almost fruity, like raisins.  It’s perfect for gingerbread, and also goes well with chocolate and coffee flavors.  You can substitute dark brown sugar for a similar effect.  I found mine at whole foods, but you can also buy it online.

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Pecans in the topping add some crunch and the nutmeg glaze is there, well, just because the cake looked kinda naked without it.  You could sub out cinnamon or cardamon, or really any of the spices for the nutmeg.

Spiced Pear Gingerbread Crumb Cake

Ingredients

    for the filling
  • 4 ripe but still firm pears, any variety, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
    for the dough
  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (I used Muscavado sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (measure after chopping)
    for the glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • enough milk or cream to thin

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 350F
  2. Toss the pear chunks with the cinnamon and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Take a moment to make sure the brown sugar has been well combined and there are no large lumps. Add the salt and the spices and mix well.
  4. Add in the flour and mix until just combined, the dough will be crumbly.
  5. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Press 2/3 of the dough mixture into the bottom of the pan. Be sure to cover the entire surface, but don't pack it down too forcefully.
  6. Spread the pears out evenly over the dough.
  7. Mix the remaining dough with the pecans and crumble it evenly over the pears. Break apart the dough with your fingertips to make nice even crumbles. Don't worry if some of the pear shows through.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes until lightly browned.
  9. Cool for a few minutes before releasing the springform pan, and then let the cake cool further before glazing.
  10. Make the glaze by mixing the sugar, nutmeg and enough milk or cream to thin it to a glaze consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Alternatively, you can serve the glaze in a little bowl and let everyone glaze their own piece of cake.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/pear-gingerbread-crumb-cake/

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How do you satisfy your early fall cravings?

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Coryn
    January 10, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I made this last night to take to a neighbor’s and it was a hit! I will definitely be making it again. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 10, 2016 at 8:41 am

      I’m so glad to hear it was a hit, Coryn – I’ve got several pears sitting in my kitchen right now, you’ve inspired me to make it again :)

  • Reply
    Dana
    December 19, 2015 at 6:57 am

    This is such a unique, flavorful dessert. It reminds me more of a crisp than a cake. I like pears for winter; I’ve made this for two holiday parties this year and it has gotten rave reviews. Definitely a keeper!

  • Reply
    Arti
    March 16, 2015 at 5:37 am

    I baked this cake today. It was delicious and my home smelt heavenly ! Thanks you for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 16, 2015 at 7:22 am

      Glad to hear it, and thanks for taking the time to let me know, Arti!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    November 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Do you know if this can be made a day ahead? My family isn’t big on pumpkin or pecan pie (gasp!) and I think this would make a great Thanksgiving dessert!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

      I’m sure it could be, Andrea.

  • Reply
    Genene
    October 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

    This looks fabulous… a thank you to Barefeet in the Kitchen for posting this on FB. Do you have any idea if this will work with canned pears vs fresh? I have a bunch of pears I canned that I need to use.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      I think it would work fine with canned pears, fresh pears cook down to a really soft texture anyway. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife
    October 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! It may be my new go to dessert.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Yay—glad you liked it Jennifer!

  • Reply
    Dawn
    September 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    This sounds and looks so incredibly delicious! I know I will love it. Will be making this soon!! And I love your photos! :)

  • Reply
    This week at the weekly treat | from house parties to housewife
    September 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    […] Pear Gingerbread Crumb Cake from The View from Great Island […]

  • Reply
    Sosae
    August 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Oh, this looks truly delicious! Love pears. Love gingerbread. Only you would have the brilliance to put them together!

  • Reply
    shannon
    August 28, 2013 at 4:33 am

    it’s almost fall! yay! sue, this looks really incredible: i’m in the middle of my own little flavor transition from summer to fall, and the pears are starting to look really good around here. in fact, there’s some in my pantry right now which need to be made into something, quite possibly this.

  • Reply
    Jeanne1
    August 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Oh my gosh — I just found your blog — that looks so incredible, and I bet the smell of it cooking is almost unbearable. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for such a great recipe!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Thanks for visiting Jeanne — I am such a fall person, I can’t help starting with the fall spices etc in August.

  • Reply
    Maria
    August 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Mmm this cake sounds wonderful, I can just smell the gingerbread! It sounds delicious paired with the pears!

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    wOw!
    The cake looks so delicious I have virtually satisfied my fall cravings!
    Great recipe and photos, Sue.

  • Reply
    denise@magnoliaverandah
    August 22, 2013 at 12:39 am

    This recipe evokes everything I love about autumn cooking. Pears and those spices…..and a little crunch on top. I can nearly smell it cooking. Lovely.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    August 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    This is over the top. I love pears and crumble and fall. I am ready!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I love baking with pears and those crumbs look wonderful!

  • Reply
    grace
    August 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    spices + crumble + soft cake + juicy pears + glaze = ecstatic grace. :)

  • Reply
    Eileen
    August 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

    This sounds like the perfect thing to eat on a rainy afternoon with a mug of tea and a good book. I usually herald fall with some of the first apples, but now I think I need to go find some pears!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Lovely dessert. I think pears are in my top 3 favorite fruits. I’ve always loved them and this sounds perfect.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Pears are the fruit I like most with fall spices, even better than apples.

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