The day has finally come. "Inspecting Carol" opens tonight, after a complicated (to put it nicely) rehearsal process. We had our first audience on Wednesday night for a preview, and they had a great time. On Thanksgiving morning, we had our last rehearsal, which went well.
Fingers crossed (and wood knocked) for a great opening tonight.
The only good thing about rehearsing first thing on Thanksgiving morning was that the cast and crew had the rest of the day to enjoy the holiday. Among the other things I was thankful for yesterday was the fact that I didn't have to clean my house and host Thanksgiving.
Our friends Warren and Diane invited us over, and all we had to do was bring a vegetable, a salad and a non-pumpkin dessert. Piece of cake (literally).
In my humble opinion, the problem with many Thanksgiving desserts is that they're just so sweet. This cake has a light sweetness with a hearty crunch from the polenta, and is just as suited to breakfast as dessert. I've adapted the original Bon Appetit recipe to provide more of the wonderful amber-colored caramel topping and a retro garnish of maraschino cherries.
Pear Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, November 2011
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. coarse polenta
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 lb. ripe medium pears, cored and cut into 1/8" slices lengthwise
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk
3 good-quality maraschino cherries or 3 whole cranberries
Whipped cream for the garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Add a parchment round to the bottom of the pan and butter that as well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, salt and baking powder.
Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and 4 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Once it does, increase heat to medium-high and boil the sugar syrup. Brush down the sides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush and swirl the sugar syrup, but do not stir it. The syrup will be done when it reaches a dark golden color; at that time, remove it from the heat.
|This didn't look quite as perfect as I had hoped (and nowhere near like the magazine's), but that's nothing to get stressed over.|