Humphry Slocomb cookbook - a couple crazy ice cream makers in SF. I call it salted honey because the recipe calls for TWO teaspoons of salt - which was way too much - I even added an additional cup of cream to the mix while it was freezing to try to de-salt it - so next time I'll only use 1 teaspoon if I want it salty and 1/2 teaspoon if I don't. For this dessert a salty version (1 teaspoon!) was the perfect foil for the sweet and nutty cake. My original choice for pears was little seckles that I've been obsessed with lately but they were gone at the farmer's market - I will have one of these growing next year! Anyway, I ended up choosing some other french pear that was still hard and instead of doing the little seckles just sliced in half - I thinly sliced this other pear (sorry no idea what the name was) I actually think I like it sliced better - you never know what you are going to end up with when you shop what's locally grown - and I love that! Adaptation is the best way to evolve - and sometimes for the better!
Pear Upside-Down Cake serves about 10
1 and 1/2 sticks butter at room temp
1/4 cup brown sugar
enough peeled, cored and sliced pears to cover the bottom of your pan - the ones I used were huge so it took 1 and a half
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup almond slivers
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 2/3 cups cake flour - this is worth it, made it very light
1/2 cup milk
Melt 1/2 stick butter in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet - ok, my skillet is 8 so I had another little individual cast-iron skillet so I used it too and just eyeballed splitting the 2 up. If you have 10 inch - good for you!
Then add the brown sugar and let it melt. Remove from heat and arrange the pear slices nicely around the pan. Sprinkle over the orange juice and almonds. Next make the batter for the cake. In a mixing bowl beat the other stick of butter with the sugar for about 5 min, then add the egg and vanilla. Mix together the baking powder, salt and flour and then mix in alternating with the milk until it's incorporated. It will be very thick. Dollup on top of the pears spreading gently so the pears don't move. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 min if you have a smaller pan and up to 45 min if you have 10 inches. Test the cake with a toothpick for doneness. As soon as it comes out of the oven, cross your fingers and flip it out onto your serving plate. (Place the plate on the pan and using pot holders and both hands flip over.) Cut into wedges and serve with some salty ice-cream!