Fall fruit isn’t as showy as its summertime counterparts, but if you look beneath the surface, you’ll find a host of treats and treasures just waiting to be discovered.
A new favorite in our house is the Asian pear. Round and similar in size to apples, with a color that ranges from a rich russet to olive green, Asian pears have the crispness of a fresh fall apple and the flavor of a pear. And, unlike regular pears, Asian pears are robust and hardy — no bruising, no ripening in six seconds. They’re a dream.
After a recent trip to a local orchard, we came home with a big bag full and decided to turn our bounty into dessert. In no time, I pulled together a simple, fruit-studded skillet cake that was perfect for a fall evening.
Because skillet cakes are generally baked in a cast iron skillet (though any heavy bottomed skillet will do), they have a wonderful crisp bottom layer, while the fruit helps keep the crumb moist and toothsome. My recipe is made with whole milk yogurt, giving the cake a silky, creamy quality. And the top is sprinkled with a generous layer of sugar that bakes up into a thin, sweet crust.
Asian Pear Skillet Cake
Makes: 10-12 servings
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup turbinado sugar, divided
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
- 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, room temperature
- 2 Asian pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Set an 8-9″ skillet over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and swirl to coat bottom and sides.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder and soda, nutmeg, and sea salt.
- In a large bowl, beat 4 tablespoons butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat for 2 minutes more. Switch mixer to low, add the egg, and beat until fully combined, then add half the flour mixture followed by milk and yogurt, and then the remaining flour mixture.
- Spoon into prepared skillet and spread batter so it touches the sides. Place pear slices (peel side up) in batter, creating outer and inner circles.
- Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
- Cool for 20 minutes, slice, and serve. Cake will keep well covered, at room temperature for a day.