Fresh Gingerbread With Port-Poached Pears

Course : Fruits
Serves: 8
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1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large firm but ripe pears with stems
4 cups ruby port
2 cups sugar
15 pieces fresh peeled ginger slices -- 1/8 inchthick
2 pieces cinnamon sticks
1 piece vanilla bean -- split length wise
1/4 cup fresh ginger; peeled finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter -- room temp
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup unsulfured light molasses
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
4 large eggs -- room temp
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preparation / Directions:

For Pears: Add lemon juice to large bowl of cold water. Peel pears, leaving stems intact. Use melon baller to remove core through bottom end. Add pears to bowl of water. Bring Port, sugar, ginger, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean to boil in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmmer syrup 10 minutes. Drain pears and add to syrup. Simmer until tender, turning frequently, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to large container and stand upright. Boil syrup until reduced to 1-3/4 cups, about 18. Pour syrup over pears. Cover and chill. For Cake: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350~. Butter 9 x 13 x 2-pan. Dust pan with flour; tap out excess. Mix chopped ginger and 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Let stand until syrup forms, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Mix flour, baking soda and spices in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add molasses, coffee and chopped ginger mixture and beat until blended (mixture may look curdled). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating after each addition until just blended.----- Thought for the day: Intuition (n): an uncanny sixth sense which tells people that they are right, whether they are or not.


Nutritional Information:

632 Calories (kcal); 26g Total Fat; (36% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 94g Carbohydrate; 157mg Cholesterol; 263mg Sodium

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