Pear Upside-down Gingerbread Cake

Pear Upside-down Gingerbread Cake


This is an old family recipe, that’s been handed down, and is always such a delicious treat. The cake is dense and moist, and when you turn it out of the pan upside down after baking, the pears embedded in the bottom (now the top) offer a beautiful sweet surprise! It’s a great way to use canned pears, for a fruit treat in the middle of winter.


1 cup flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon (heaping of course)

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 egg

1/3 cup + 5 tbls brown sugar

¼ cup molasses or honey

½ cup sour milk or buttermilk

¼ cup shortening, melted

¼ cup butter

halved pears to cover bottom of dish


mix dry ingredients

combine egg, 5 tbsp brown sugar, molasses, milk, shortening

melt butter into bottom of a cake pan

sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar, lay pears

pour batter over pears


bake at 350F for 40 minutes

let cool, and then flip upside-down onto a serving tray.

eat and enjoy!!

luscious served warm with vanilla ice cream, or cinnamon-spice whipped cream


What to do with Quince?

Here is an excellent post from the kitchn about the peculiarities of quince, and why we should all love it! And here is one simple recipe for an easy way to enjoy the pleasures quince has to offer:


*Photo credit:
Check them out for an awesome looking Quince Jelly Recipe

Poached Quince


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 (1-inch) julienne-cut lemon rind
  • 4 cored peeled quinces, quartered (about 1 3/4 pounds)


  1. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven, and cook 2 minutes. Add quinces; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Remove quinces from liquid with a slotted spoon. Strain liquid through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Pour liquid over quinces.
  2. Note: Refrigerate in an airtight container up to two weeks.


Beer Poached Figs!

Here’s one I haven’t tried yet, but it sounds amazing!

Recipe of the Month

Beer Poached Figs

beer poached figs

(from Christy Samoy, Sea Rocket Bistro, San Diego)

  • 3 cups porter style beer
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 16 ripe mission figs
  • 1 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Bring beer, honey, brown sugar, orange peel and peppercorns to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add figs and reduce heat to medium low. Allow figs to poach for 4 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon and let cool. Reduce beer mixture to 1/3 so that about 1 1/2 cups of syrup remain. Remove orange peel and let cool.

For the goat cheese mixture, soften goat and cream cheese by allowing it to sit at room temperature. Mix in mixer with whip attachment. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream. Mix until evenly incorporated.

Slice figs in half and arrange them on a plate with a dollop of the goat cheese mixture. Drizzle with syrup and garnish.


Plum Chutney

Chutney is one of my favorite fruit preserves to make and use. From Wikipedia:

“Chutney (Hindi/ Nepali – “चटनी” also transliterated chatney or chatni, Sindhi: چٽڻي‎) is a side dish in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent that can vary from a tomato relish to a ground peanut garnish or a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip.

An offshoot that took root in Anglo-Indian cuisine is usually a tart fruit such as sharp apples, rhubarb or damson pickle made milder by an equal weight of sugar (usually demerara or brown sugar to replace jaggery in some Indian sweet chutneys) Vinegar was added to the recipe for English-style chutney that traditionally aims to give a long shelf life so that fall fruit can be preserved for use throughout the year (as are jams, jellies and pickles) or else to be sold as a commercial product. Indian pickles use mustard oil as a pickling agent, but Anglo-Indian style chutney uses malt or cider vinegar which produces a milder product that in western cuisine is usually eaten with a Cheddar-type cheese or with cold meats and fowl, typically in cold pub lunches.”

There is a beautiful plum tree near the Tuesday Growers and Crafters Market in Ashland. One summer I collected some fruit from it, and created this recipe. I made it up based on a mix of a few other recipes, and the plums I used were very juicy so this ended up pretty runny. They had a beautiful golden color though, and the chutney turned out delicious. One of my favorite used for it was as a base for a dipping sauce for fresh spring rolls!

Plum Chutney, by Elizabeth Tobey

16 cups

3 cups vinegar- 2 apple cider, 1 red wine, cause that’s what we had…

3 ½ cups brown sugar

1 cup onion, chopped

2 tbsp fresh ginger chopped

1 tbsp crushed dried cayenne pepper

a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper

1 cup dried cranberries

4 cloves garlic minced

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, simmer, stirring frequently for about an hour. Ladle into clean jars and boil in water bath for ten minutes.

Makes approximately 16 half pints.

*Photo credit where there are other delicious sounding recipes!

Apricot Jam

I made this jam one summer with Apricots from Valley View Orchard. I made half the batch according to recipe, but to the other half I added crushed cayenne pepper. Both were amazing! The hint of spicy heat was a delicious addition to an already fabulous jam. For this size batch I would add 1-2 crushed red peppers, or to taste. Have fun!

Apricot JamApricots_wiki


8 cups diced apricots
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar


  1. Sterilize your canning jars by boiling for 10 minutes in a hot water canner.
  2. You will need 5 pint jars or 10 half-pints.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.
  4. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Once mixture reaches a rolling boil, continue to boil it for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking.
  6. Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 head space.
  7. Wipe rims clean and put the 2-piece metal canning lids in place.

Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Plum Orange Jelly

This is another great plum recipe because you can just throw all the plums into a pot and cook them down without worrying about pitting them. You’ll strain out all the pits and skins later, and rather than worrying about getting a completely clear liquid when you strain it, as you usually do with jelly recipes, this one is actually better when a little pulp gets into the mixture. The orange gives it a really unique flavor.

Plum Jelly

Cook down a bunch of plums and strain through a fine sieve or a jelly bag. Don’t worry about keeping it totally clear. Some pulp is fine. Just get pits and skins out.

5 cups of the cooked and strained plum mixture
1 tbsp grated orange peel/zest
6 tbsp pectin
5 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup orange liquor or juice of the orange you zested

Follow jelly directions on the pectin package.




Plum Liqueur Recipe

At a plum harvest recently, I got to chatting with the homeowners, who had this huge beautiful red plum tree in their backyard. They were overwhelmed by plums every summer, and spent most of their plum-time scraping them off their back porch and discarding them. They started asking us about plum recipes, and I realized we ought to be sharing some ideas with y’all for how to use all this amazing abundance of fruit that we’re salvaging from the waste stream. So here’s s super simple, decadently delicious recipe to get started. This one’s nice because you don’t have to deal with pitting the plums, just throw them in the jar!

Plum Liqueur

1 ½ lbs plums
Quart jar
1/3 cup sugar
Cinnamon stick
Enough vodka to cover plums

Fill canning jar with plums and cinnamon

Pour sugar over top

Fill with vodka

Put a lid on it and let it sit for several weeks, shaking occasionally.

Sip and enjoy responsibly. Yum! Goes really well mixed with bubbly water, or Wiley’s Ginger Ale!

Plum Jar