Yesterday, Sunday dinner with Mom was looming, but I couldn't find a recipe for what I had in mind. In this case, I happened to have two pears that I was determined to use, a small oval cast iron skillet that Santa brought, and precious little time for baking.
I'll admit that I had serious doubts about how this might turn out. It exceeded our expectations. This one is a keeper and a recipe I'll be making often. Not only does it taste great, but it's very pretty, too. Apples could readily be substituted for pears, and I suspect that a mixture of apples and pears would work as well. My cast iron skillet is 9.5 inches by 7 inches for reference purposes. A small round skillet should work fine.
Skillet Caramelized Pear Cake
1/4 cup canola or olive oil (not one with intense flavor)
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
Peel, core, and slice the pears. Toss with a squeeze or two of lemon so they don't turn brown.
Place the oil, egg, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat or whisk together. Alternate adding flour and milk until everything is blended. Set aside.
On the stove top, melt the butter with the light brown sugar in the skillet. Position the pear slices on top of the mixture, crowding them a little bit. Pour the batter over the pears and slide the skillet into the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Flip over onto serving platter.
Serve warm with creme fraiche or lightly sweetened whipped cream.